By John Turney
|Credit: Cliff Spohn|
Gosselin mentioned Gradishar's hitting ability:
"Said Dan Hampton, "One time I asked Walter
Tony Dorsett said, "I ran a pass pattern and was wide
Of the few things we want to add to the discussion is the number of votes Gradishar received
There are two caveats: In 1985 the AP did not release the votes. So, we had to estimate how many votes Mike Singletary, Howie Long and Andre Tippett received. We think it was likely not the kind of landslide Lawrence Taylor received in 1986, but more like 1983, 1984, and 1987, the nearest seasons, So, we
Here are the totals:
Some other HOFes that didn't make the
Another diagram shows Gradishar covering the "Y-flat", that is covering a tight end man to man in the flat when the
Pro Scout, Inc. Annual Player Rankings---Gradishar was one of Top Ten NFL Linebackers - Seven times in 10 years.
Best All-Time ILB at combination of neutralize and operating in space. Played like a DE vs.
What made Gradishar Unique, and the Best ILB ever:
Blue in Neutralize, (Blue is our top rating)
"Can cover the Y-Flat" (Only other ILB who could do that was Lambert)
"AAB" Always Around Ball
90% tackler every season, including last (Blue is 85%
Blue in Diagnosis,
Zone stop curl---Broncos asked Gradishar to do what no other ILB could do. No one!
Averaged 16 tackles in 20 plus "looks". Remember "Eye in the Sky does not lie"
1982- Blue Pursuit
1982 Active, still attacks guard/
10/30/77 leverage: Blue, Neutralize: blue. Athletic: Blue, (Ranks at top. Could have been Fullback in NFL)
"30 defense is a hell of a lot harder on ILB than 40 defense. Ray Lewis got hurt 1 year into transition from 40 to 30 defense. Lambert- 2 years. Carson-1 year.
Here is a sampling of his thoughts on Gradishar:
Pro Football Weekly's List of Top NFL Linebackers of All-Time
1A Dick Butkus (MLB)
1B Lawrence Taylor (OLB)
3 Ray Lewis (MLB)
4 Bobby Bell (OLB)
5 Dave Wilcox (SLB)
6 Mike Singeltary (MLB)
7 Jack Ham (OLB)
8 Ray Nitschke (MLB)
9 Jack Lambert (MLB)
10 Randy Gradishar (ILB)
Pro Football Weekly in June 1979 in which Gradishar was rated #1 inside LB in NFL (Lambert was 4th)
Pro Football Weekly, November 19, 1979 Again, Gradishar is #1 in
November 3, 1980 "Is
1979 Sport Magazine
Randy is named one of
"The chance for a real good shot comes very seldom, but when it's there I take full advantage of it.
The Truly Great, by Rick
The Complete Handbook of Pro Football
"Not as nasty as Butkus, doesn't snarl like Lambert, but Gradishar makes all the plays. Hey, he can hit
Pro Football Preview
"Feel" is a word football coaches use instead of instinct. Some players have it, some don't. Randy has an overload. A mobile diagnostician who takes good angles in pursuit, he makes plays all over the field.
"A notch below Lambert in taking on a guard and the run head-on, no one's had better instinct than this all-time great. He processes plays with computer-like efficiency. Always in the right place at the right time, he has his angles of pursuit down to rudimentary geometry and measure up to any back, anywhere on the field."
Also, Denver didn't move to a 3-4 defensive full-time until 1976, though they used it part of the time in both 1974 and 1975.
Orange Crush Defense Rankings
Combined Rankings (1975-83)
Category Broncos Ranking in NFL
Rushing yards Allowed 3
attempt 2 rushing nd
Fewest Rushing TDs allowed 6
Fewest passing TDs allowed 1
Fewest TDs from scrimmage allowed 2
Fewest Totals Yards Allowed 7
Fewest Points Allowed 4
Lowest Opponent Passer Rating 6
Most Interceptions 7
Since Gradishar's career covered the same years, save for 1984, as Jack Lambert it may be useful to look at their personal stats. Here are their career stats along with a few other
Finally, a look at the "Alls" the All-Pros, the All-AFCs, the DPOY Awards compared to the other inside/middle linebackers already inducted. Again, taken in conjunction with all the other things, the "Alls" or awards are a useful tool in gauging how effective a player was in his era and how that compares across eras.
(Click to enlarge)
One caveat, we cannot confirm Richter's 112 starts, we are going by anecdotal evidence that states Richters never missed a start. However, records are sketchy from that era and we cannot be 100% sure. The same goes for Huff and Schmidt. We think Huff may not have started his first game, but again, it has been written that he started from day one.