In the sixth of Thin Air’s series on considerations for the Broncos Ring of Fame is Jake Plummer (2003-2006).
Yesterday, we addressed the merits of a quarterback who joined the Broncos at a crossroads for only four seasons. Jake Plummer is another quarterback who came to Denver under those circumstances. The Super Bowl glean had definitely worn off, with the Broncos making the playoffs only once in four years, and Elway heir apparent Brian Griese having been dethroned.
In his first three seasons, when Plummer was under center the Broncos compiled a 32-11 record and made the playoffs in all three of those seasons. Plummer had a daunting task in the first two playoff games when the other side of the ball had the likes of Lenny Walls and Roc Alexander trying to fend off Peyton Manning. But in the third instance he was part of a Goliath-slaying: handing Tom Brady his first career playoff loss. The next day, a shocking home loss by the #1 Colts sent the location of the AFC Championship Game to Denver.
Unfortunately, Plummer and the Broncos laid an egg against the Steelers–and as Ted Sundquist has described in detail, this set up Plummer for his eventual departure from the starting quarterback job. This happened in the middle of 2006 after Plummer went 7-4. In all four of his seasons in Denver, he never had a losing record, coming in at a total of 39-15.
If one is looking for a Ring of Fame comparable to Plummer, take a look at quarterback Charley Johnson. Like Plummer, he started off his career with the Cardinals, and only spent four years in Denver to end his career. Johnson went 20-18-3 as a starter and never made the playoffs, a far cry from Plummer’s total. However, Johnson once led the league in yards per attempt as a Bronco, while Plummer once led the league in interceptions in one of his seasons in Denver.