The Case For The Broncos Ring Of Fame: Ed McCaffrey

In the first of Thin Air’s series on considerations for the Broncos Ring of Fame is wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (1995-2003)

Should Ed McCaffrey be in the Broncos Ring of Fame?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ed McCaffrey presents a case where the perception inside the fanbase may be considerably more positive than outside it.  McCaffrey is 5th in all time receiving yards among Broncos, but he also has a little more than half of his partner in crime, Rod Smith–thus assuring that McCaffrey was never greater than the #2 receiver on the team.  When he retired, he was only 71st in all-time yards across the league, and in his only Pro Bowl season of 1998 (also honored as a second team All-Pro by the AP), he wasn’t even in the top 10 in yards (Smith was 4th), and was tied with Shannon Sharpe for number of touchdowns.  Even in the season he gained the most yards at 1,317, that was still only barely enough to make the top ten.

Despite consistently being a second fiddle in the Broncos offense, it’s unquestionable that McCaffrey became a enduring fan favorite. There are reasons why, in this year’s draft, many Broncos fans obsessed over the idea of his son wearing orange and blue, and not over the son of another Bronco.  I’ll be bold and list the least charitable possibility first–the novelty of a white wide receiver–and continue with a more mundane novelty: his small shoulder pads to gain an edge in speed.

But the most charitable reason why McCaffrey is popular comes from just that: before and after retirement, he’s been a reliable ambassador for the Broncos and the city of Denver.  Ranging from marketing mustard to sports camps to Broncos commentary on the radio, even the youngest of Broncos fans today are likely aware of who Ed McCaffrey is and why he matters.

I expect the results from this poll, and any other fan opinions, to be more positive than the Ring of Fame committee’s opinion, though I would expect some level of positivity there as well. There’s nothing wrong with that: it’s good to have a panel of experts as a check against the common majority. But fan popularity should certainly be a factor in any Ring of Fame calculation, as the perception of any team would flounder without strong fan support.

  • RSH

    I voted no, and this is coming from a guy who owns an Ed McCaffrey jersey. To me, the Ring of Fame should be designated for sustained excellence. McCaffrey had good and great seasons in Denver, and he played a vital role in securing back-to-back Super Bowl titles, including helping the Broncos’ vanquish their never-ending Super Bowl nightmares. It pains me to keep him out, but I think that his overall body of work leaves him just short of the Ring of Fame.

    • JMac

      I voted No as well – I loved Ed, My wife has a signed jersey. He was a massive fan favorite, but I wouldn’t think exceptional enough to be in the RoF.

      That said, if they take down the Lynch selection and put up Eddie Mac – I’d be happy with that. How the heck did Lynch get up there?? (Another player I liked, but Seriously??????)

      • RSH

        I do not think that Lynch belongs in the Ring of Fame, either. I think that McCaffrey deserves enshrinement more than Lynch does.

        • JMac


        • WhoShotBobbyHumphrey

          That’s the problem. “The Lynch Outlier” fucks up this whole exercise, or makes it that much more debatable. If you take Lynch out, it’s debatable and more likely that McCaffery should not be there. If he is left in, I think you have to include McCaffery as well.

          • Russ

            Is that even an option — to remove Lynch from the ROF? That would be awfully cold. But I guess you could use the excuse that he’s now back in football, and working for a different organization might also be a disqualifier, but technically, I doubt it.

          • WhoShotBobbyHumphrey

            LOL. It’s not an option, but would be hilarious.

      • gobroncos

        Agree 100%. Swap out Lynch for McCaffrey or they both shouldn’t be in. I have a McCaffrey jersey too, but I don’t think he’s ring of fame worthy. Somehow I thought his stint with the Broncos was shorter than 8yrs though. Maybe I have sites set too high for players in the ring of Fame, i.e. Hall of fame status. I guess it should be just shy of HOF status at the least.

    • Carsonic

      Yeah, I’m right on the edge, but I have to agree. As much as I love the guy, he was more an A- performer than the A+ that deserves the RoF.

  • InSiemianWeTrust

    Forgot 2 important facts!

    Played with the Broncos for 8 years!
    Played with the Broncos in both 90’s SB campaigns.

    It’s not like I’m biased or anything like that.

    • Nick

      I did say “(1995-2003)” in the introductory sentence. And one’s Broncos fandom should be questioned if you aren’t aware their first two Super Bowls were within that range. : )

  • Benjamin Funderburk

    Atwater’s hit against Okoye will always stand the test of time as the biggest Broncos hit in my lifetime, but Eddie Mac’s block in the Super Bowl cemented his place in the Ring of Fame. He defined what we all want our Broncos to be: hard working, tough, and committed to team play.

    • Kush-Lash

      Agreed. This hit alone deserves enshrinement.

    • Piglet62

      Totally agree. The Hall of Fame should be about uncompromising excellence as seen objectively. The Ring of Fame should be for those we love as fans. And that block-plus-finger-wag totally justifies it given the game situation and the importance in team history. +1

  • drewthorn

    Probably not, but yes.

    They really muddied the water with the Lynch inclusion, so that’s an answer at least as clear as the criteria.

  • Nick

    Many of you are mentioning John Lynch, and while you’re free to use whatever factors you want since this is ultimately your own opinion, just keep in mind that my goal is to bring up many other borderline cases, thus Lynch might get brought up regularly in these discussions.

  • BlackKnigh

    I voted for him to be admitted. IMO – Denver does not get to or win those 1st 2 SBs without him on the field. He was the 3rd really good receiver along with Sharpe and Smith and TD as the rushing threat. Take him away – and those other 3 are more easily defended as most good defenses have 2 good DBs as well as a good run defense. The guy was all heart and strong motivation. He was not only a good athlete – but also a good husband and father to those kids.

    • bradley

      Agreed. Don’t fprget that Rod Smith didn’t catch a single pass in SB 32. Eddie did and he also made that great block and followed it with that great taunt.
      That got us over the hump and we became SB winners.

  • Brian

    Whether Lynch’s on-field play warranted it, He was a perennial Pro Bowler. The Pro Bowl has surely diluted as an honor in the present, but the selection has some weight for the 90’s and aughts.. Eddie Mac has one Pro Bowl nod. I vote no on Eddie Mac. (I’d be very on the fence on Lynch, but I am not outraged by his inclusion). Eddie Mac has my admiration and appreciation for his contributions to the Broncos Super Bowl teams, and for being a post-career ambassador for Bronco Country. Nevertheless, I can’t rightfully recall one time during his Bronco career when I thought “Hey, we really need to get the ball to 87 here, so he can make something happen.” He was an important role player on some good and great Bronco teams. The players who have similar bonafides are too numerous to count, and certainly few, if any, are worthy of the Ring of Fame.

    • BlackKnigh

      You bring up a good point about the Pro Bowl. It used to be a nice capping off of the season. Also when the AFC played the NFC – I could enjoy seeing the great comraderie of the and yet it seemed like a real game that meant something. I do not even bother to watch anymore as it seems like something we used to do on the schoolyard when I was in elementary school. Choosing sides and playing.

  • Hank Mardukis


  • Lonestar47

    I’ll make my comments without reading any of the comments above or does the folow the article as not to be biased by any of them.

    Yes, without question. While TD and Elway were the superstars of the team it was quietly racking up yards as one of the toughest SOBs I have ever seen in my wife.

    He wore the barest of pads as to shave milliseconds off of his speed.

    He went over the middle without question and caught almost everything thrown his direction it was a rare occasion where is good for I called Eddie Mack would drop the ball. His blocking was legendary for both running back’s and his white receiver and tight end combinations you did it without complaint would he was the complete wide receiver in my opinion the only thing you act was absolute speed.

    His one block what is legendary “killed” the guy and then turned over and told him not in my backyard.

    He was in my opinion one of the best players we have ever had acquire team leader and I can’t ever remember reading an article or hearing anything about him that was negative in his personal life as well as his football life.