SAN FRANCISCO — Terrell Davis continues to inch closer to Canton. But, once again, the Broncos' all-time leading rusher did not make it inside the walls of the Pro Football
Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Davis and former Broncos safety John Lynch were among the final 10 candidates to make it in the Hall's Class of 2016 on Saturday. But the two, as well as former Bronco safety Steve Atwater, failed to earn the necessary 80 percent of votes by the 46-person committee for one of the final coveted spots.
The maximum eight inductees made up the Class of 2016: quarterback Brett Favre, defensive lineman Kevin Greene, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, offensive tackle Orlando Pace and coach Tony Dungy (modern era); quarterback Ken Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel (senior); and owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. (contributor).
Davis, a two-time finalist who has made it to the semifinal round 10 times, will have to wait at least until an 11th year to get into the Hall.
Drafted by the Broncos in the sixth round (No. 196 overall) in 1995, Davis produced a franchise-record 7,607 rushing yards and 60 touchdowns on 1,655 carries (4.6 average) in regular-season games. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons — including 2,008, the fourth-most in NFL history, during his 1998 MVP season.
But the playoffs, when the pressure was greatest and the lights were brightest, were where Davis had his most significant performances.
In Super Bowl XXXII, he played through a migraine headache to run for 157 yards and three touchdowns to earn MVP honors in the Broncos' first world championship.
He followed with 102 rushing yards in Super Bowl XXXIII, when he earned his second ring, before ending his career with a team-record 1,140 rushing yards for an average of 142.5 yards per game in the postseason and setting an NFL record with seven consecutive 100-yard playoff games.
The only blemish on his résumé? The length.
Davis was forced out by injuries after seven seasons.
After years of success on the field, Davis has been tempered by years of rejection by the Hall. Two days before voters scrutinized his statistics and accomplishments, his big moments and small, the former running back and current NFL Network analyst admitted he entered the process with cautious optimism.
He was hoping. But he wasn't betting on anything.
Lynch, who played 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before closing out his career with the Broncos, from 2004-07, also was left off the final list for the third time. A Pro Bowl selection in each of his four seasons with the Broncos, Lynch totaled 304 tackles (215 solo), seven sacks, three interceptions, 26 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his time with the team. Including his years with the Bucs, Lynch compiled 1,227 career tackles (789 solo), 13 sacks, 26 interceptions, 100 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.
Atwater, a first-time finalist, played 10 of his 11 NFL seasons in Denver after the Broncos selected him in the first round (No. 20) of the 1989 draft and was selected to a franchise record-tying seven consecutive Pro Bowls, from 1990-96. Throughout his tenure with the Broncos, Atwater totaled 1,356 tackles (854 solo), 24 interceptions and five sacks in 167 career games, and played in three Super Bowls with the Broncos, helping them win their first ring in Super Bowl XXXII.
But in the eyes of voters, it wasn't enough.
Not this year.
Not for Lynch, either.
And not for Davis.
Maybe in 2017, their journey to Canton will reach its final stop.
Class of 2016
The pro football hall of fame's eight newest members:
Brett Favre, QB
Kevin Greene, DL
Marvin Harrison, WR
Orlando Pace, OT
Tony Dungy, coach
Ken Stabler, QB
Dick Stanfel, G
Edward DeBartolo Jr., owner