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Snubbed again: Broncos legend Mike Shanahan skipped for Hall of Fame, Buddy Parker gets nod

Parker was two-time league champion as head coach of Lions.
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Posted at 11:31 AM, Aug 16, 2023

DENVER — The wait for Canton continues for legendary Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan.

The two-time Super Bowl-winning former Broncos head coach was again skipped over for consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as former coach Buddy Parker was named this year's lone finalist in the coach/contributor category.

Like Shanahan, Parker won back-to-back NFL Championships – before it was called the Super Bowl – back in 1952 and 1953. He recorded 107 coaching wins over 15 seasons between the Lions and Steelers.

His enshrinement is still dependent on the 80% approval of a 50-person selection committee next year.

Twelve people were up for the coach/contributor nod this year, including Shanahan and former Broncos head coach Dan Reeves. Longtime New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was also considered.

Some thought Shanahan and Kraft might split votes evenly, paving the way for the likes of Parker.

So, Shanahan is still waiting, despite his induction long overdue. He led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998. According to Sports Illustrated, he is the only coach among the five eligible to deliver consecutive crowns who has yet to enter Canton’s hallowed halls.

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Shanahan’s impact goes beyond his record. He was the play caller for one of the league’s top offenses for a decade. He was a wizard in how he created mismatches John Elway and his weapons Shannon Sharpe, Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey. The entire attack centered on a zone blocking run scheme. Terrell Davis produced a 2,000-yard season under Shanahan and, like Elway and Sharpe, reached the Hall of Fame. The scheme focused on putting a foot in the ground, getting downhill and cutting back. All backs appeared interchangeable in the system from Olandis Gary to Mike Anderson to Clinton Portis.

Shanahan’s impact on the game remains. His offensive wrinkles are present throughout the league and he has a wildly impressive coaching tree.

Current head coaches who worked for Shanahan include his son Kyle, the Rams’ Sean McVay and the Packers’ Matt LaFleur. Also his former top assistant Gary Kubiak led the Broncos to the most recent Super Bowl 50 crown.