The 300: #23 Randy Gradishar

Sometimes, the passage of time causes us to forget just how good some players were. One of the aims of The 300 is to bring those players to the attention of more recent NFL fans. One such player is today’s entrant.

NFL CAREER

Denver Broncos (1973-1983)

 

POSITION

Linebacker

 

WHY IS HE IMPORTANT?

As we have noted above, the name of Randy Gradishar might not mean too much to modern fans. That’s no knock on the people who follow the game today. In Gradishar’s time, dominant defensive units were known to the press by invented, collective, names. ‘The Purple People Eaters’. ‘The Steel Curtain’. And, in Gradishar’s case, ‘The Orange Crush’. Fans didn’t necessarily learn who the individual players were, even in those days.

Gradishar really was something special, though. He was a cerebral player, known for his supreme ability to anticipate plays. This enabled him to be a linebacker before his time. Not for him the headhunting tactics of a Lambert. Instead, his skill at knowing where to be and when meant that he could track down ball-carriers, stop them and then be back on his feet in no time.

By the time that he retired after ten seasons in the Broncos‘ backline, Gradishar held the NFL record for tackles made (over 2000 of them). He had also scored four touchdowns on turnovers which he had forced.

One thing lacking from Gradishar’s record is a place in Canton. He is certainly more than deserving of it. Uncle Sam is delighted to honour him in this small way instead.

Richard O’Hagan

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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    Sometimes, the passage of time causes us to forget just how good some players were. One of the aims of The 300 is to bring those players to the attent
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