The Case For The Broncos Ring Of Fame: Tyrone Braxton

In the seventh of Thin Air’s series on considerations for the Broncos Ring of Fame is Tyrone Braxton (1987-1993, 1995-1999).

Should Tyrone Braxton be in the Broncos Ring of Fame?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith were the standout stars at the safety position in Denver during the late 80s and early 90s. During that time, Tyrone Braxton was right alongside them at cornerback. He joined the Broncos one pick shy of being Mr. Irrelevant in 1987. Very low draft capital did not stop Braxton from making the team, and he broke through in 1989, chalking up six interceptions in starting all 16 games. After missing most of 1990 with a knee injury, Braxton returned to a regular starter at cornerback for the next three seasons.

After one season away from Denver as a backup for the Miami Dolphins, Braxton returned to Denver and a new role was found for him: alongside Atwater at safety to fill the hole left by Smith’s retirement.  Braxton would thrive in that role–particularly in 1996, when he led the NFL with nine interceptions and earned himself a Pro Bowl bid.  1997 also featured a four interception performance that contributed to the culmination of the Broncos’ first Lombardi Trophy.

  • orangeandblueaussie

    12 seasons, pro bowl and interceptions in the AFC championship game and super bowl to help earn Denver its first title. I reckon he is worthy.

  • cjfarls

    Far more deserving than many folks, but still borderline. The long Denver tenure certainly plays in his favor, but he wasn’t ever really a great player.

    So I guess that gets to the crux of the question: Do we want to favor long periods of good play, or short tenures of great play.

    I voted yes here, but I think folks like Braxton, Watson, McCaffrey, etc. are all in the same tier… and while some probably should get in, I’m not sure if they all should.

    • T. Jensen

      I’m in the same boat. I voted yes too but almost voted no.

      To me I never really think about Braxton. As CB he was just ok. As a safety he was good but overshadowed by Smith and Atwater. We’ve also have had a lot better CB’s and Safeties.

      McCafferey wasn’t as good as Rod but he helped Rod be better and honestly there aren’t a lot of Broncos receivers that were better than him (while a Bronco) Smith, Taylor and Thomas. I’d put him above any of the Son’s. Sanders/Welker/Marshall could be considered better than McCafferey but in consideration of time as a Bronco I’d only consider Sanders and then only if he plays here for a year or two more.

  • Yahmule

    He was very well liked by teammates and fans and being the 334th player selected gives him an extra little underdog angle. He played cornerback before a one year Miami hiatus then came back to play strong safety on back to back Champions. More tangibly, his 34 interceptions tie him for fourth in team history with Champ Bailey. He brought back four for touchdowns. Only Aqib Talib, with five, has more as a Bronco. He’s 10th in forced fumbles and tied for 10th among defensive fumble recoveries. He answered to Chicken, but he was a ballhawk.

    IMO, Braxton, Eddie Mac and Blade are all worthy of honoring. It really all comes down to whether you’re Big Ring person or a Small Ring person. I think a fair percentage of the players up there already are in based on at least partially on sentimentality, which means it’s already a Big Ring.

  • drewthorn

    Better case than Lynch I think, but not as good as Steve Foley’s. Neither will ever be selected, though, so it is what it is or isn’t or whatever. They have managed to so skew the criteria that probably 100 players could be legitimately debated as worthy. Shit, Mike Harden had a three year stretch as good as any Lynch managed. He could easily be ‘debated’, too, which is sort of the problem with the direction the Ring has taken. It’s not clear what is vital to inclusion.

    • Yahmule

      If being targeted 10X more than the corner on the other side is good. What’s not really debatable is the guy was the anti-John Lynch as a human being.

      • VonSwenson

        So we’re clear, that’s Harden you’re talking about there, not Braxton.

        • Yahmule

          Yeah, Harden. Total grifter. To me, he was the guy who was targeted mercilessly opposite Louis Wright, replacing Steve Wilson (Dan collected Cowboys the Cowboys didn’t want anymore) who was previously the guy who was targeted mercilessly opposite Louis Wright. There was brief Jeremiah Castille interlude, followed by the Mark Haynes era of disinterested sadness. I rarely question an athlete’s motivation, but Haynes never looked like he gave half a fuck about being out there. I’ll give Harden credit for making quarterbacks pay for testing him that much. He racked up 35 picks and four touchdowns in Denver.

      • drewthorn

        I recall Harden playing some pretty good S for a stretch. Maybe I remember it wrong. That was well before the day when analytics were used to pick a guy apart, so maybe his good years were largely an illusion. I don’t know.

  • VonSwenson

    I really liked Braxton, but voted no. I think Darian Gordon had more of an impact than Braxton in the two seasons he was a Bronco. (2 years, 2 super bowls, 4 INTs in the playoffs in the second super bowl run)