Ex-Broncos Star DeMarcus Ware Among 15 Hall of Fame Finalists

Getty DeMarcus Ware celebrates after a play against the Carolina Panthers.

For the second year in a row, former Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The original announcement was supposed to take place on January 3 on NFL Network but was moved to the following day out of respect for Damar Hamlin.

DeMarcus Ware signed with the Denver Broncos in 2014 after he was released from the Dallas Cowboys after nine seasons. Ware was brought in among other free agent acquisitions like cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J Ward to put the reigning AFC champion Broncos over the top and win a Super Bowl.

Ware’s first season in Denver showed there was a lot of football left in the tank for the veteran pass rusher. He finished the 2014 season with 41 tackles, 10.0 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits and an interception. The Broncos’ season ended with a 24-13 AFC Divisional Round loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but it showed the makings of a championship team.

In 2015, Ware accomplished what he was brought to Denver to do. The team reached the mountain top for the eighth time and their third Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Against NFL MVP Cam Newton in the 2016 Super Bowl, Ware and the Broncos defense held the Carolina Panthers to just 10 points, even though the Panthers were the No. 1 scoring offense that season.

Ware did have 2.0 sacks against the Panthers, but the play most fans remember is the one where he and defensive tackle Malik Jackson are jumping on the ball together to give Denver their first touchdown of the game after a Von Miller strip sack.

Ware retired at the end of the 2016 season. His career as a Bronco was short, but his impact will be forever remembered.

Should DeMarcus Ware Be in the Hall of Fame?

Ware’s NFL resume as a player is up there with some of the greatest ever to play the game.

Ware has 138.5 career sacks, 117 of which came with the Dallas Cowboys, and is the team’s all-time leader in sacks. He is a four-time All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade team.

The argument becomes more challenging, narrowing it down from 15 finalists to just five modern-era players and three senior committee selections. Here is how the final names are selected for the Hall of Fame:

The Final Preliminary List of 25 Modern-Era Player Nominees plus all ties (if any) for the 25th position shall be distributed to the Selection Committee during the month of November for the purpose of the selection of 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists. The 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Finalists are the recommended candidates of the Coach/Contributor and Senior Committees.

In advance of the Hall of Fame Selection Meeting, the Selectors are provided detailed biographies on each of the 18 Finalists. At the annual meeting, each Finalist is thoroughly discussed by the committee before a series of reduction votes are taken. First, the Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists are discussed and voted on for election. They must receive the same 80% affirmative vote as the Modern-Era Player Finalists. Next, there is a vote that reduces the Modern-Era Player Finalists list from 15 to 10. Following that, a vote is taken to reduce the list from 10 to 5 names. The five remaining Modern-Era Player Finalists for Hall of Fame election are voted on individually (yes or no) for membership.

In order to be elected, a Finalist must receive a minimum of 80% of the vote.  All ballots are collected and counted by an accounting firm.  No vote totals are announced – only the winners of the various reduction ballots are revealed to the Selectors and the Hall’s representatives.

Among the other 15 finalists up for selection to the Class of 2023 are defenders like Jared Allen, Ronde Barber, Dwight Freeney, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis, Zach Thomas, Patrick Willis and fellow Dallas Cowboy Darren Woodson. Freeney and Revis, along with Joe Thomas, are on the ballot for the first time, as Ware was in 2022. All the names listed can be argued for this honor as each player had an outstanding career in the NFL, which makes the honor so prestigious.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be announced during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Ford Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon on Friday, February 10, 2023, during Super Bowl weekend. 

Reactions to DeMarcus Ware’s Hall of Fame Nomination

From journalists to players, and even Ware himself, Twitter was filled with congratulations for Ware’s second Hall of Fame finalist nomination.

“Back knocking on the door ….” Ware wrote on Twitter.

“That’s amazing. That’s a blessing to Cowboys Nation,” Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs told The 33rd Team.

“One of The Greatest players I have Coached!! Thank you,” another wrote on Twitter.

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