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NFL Denver Broncos

5 Reasons Why Champ Bailey Belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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5 Reasons Why Champ Bailey Belongs in the Hall of Fame

champ bailey
Mark J Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

15 years is a long time for a football player at any position, and there is no other player who has done it better at the cornerback position.

Denver Broncos corner Champ Bailey has played 15 seasons in the NFL, and it appears that perhaps his time in the league is almost over. He has waited 15 years to finally get to the big stage, and that dream will finally come true for him when the Broncos play the Seattle Seahawks in a little more than a week. He was close once back in the 2005 season until the surprising Pittsburgh Steelers knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs.

Bailey was drafted by the Washington Redskins back in 1999 -- the year after the Broncos won their second Super Bowl -- and has made such an impact at the cornerback position since then. Bailey had success playing for the Redskins, but in a surprise move they traded him to the Broncos after his rookie contract expired in exchange for running back Clinton Portis. The trade surprised many fans because of his performance, but with his new team he still presented the same skills that he was known for.

One of his most memorable moments was in the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoffs against the New England Patriots where he intercepted a Tom Brady pass and went 100 yards before being stopped just short of the goal line. It was marked as the longest non-scoring play in history and clearly changed the momentum due to how close the game was at the time.

While there have been a few players enshrined in Canton who have not won a Super Bowl, Bailey has a golden chance this year to pretty much secure his spot with a ring in the game that has eluded him for the last 15 years. With that said, here are the five reasons I believe Champ Bailey belongs in the Hall of Fame after his career ends.

Tylor Walden is a Denver Broncos writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylorDWalden, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Interception Numbers

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It has always been a dangerous move to throw the ball in the direction of Bailey. He has accumulated 52 interceptions throughout his career, most of which he collected during his time with the Broncos. In fact, he ranks first among all Denver players in career interceptions. His 10 during the 2005 season tied him for the most that year.

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4. Pass Coverage

coverage
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How good is Bailey at playing his position? Back in 2005, Bailey did not allow one receiver matched up against him catch a single touchdown pass. As a matter of fact, during that season he was only tested 35 times in the 16+ games they played and only four of those passes were completed, none for touchdowns. That is quite a feat. He completed this feat again in 2009 as 80 passes went his way, none of which were touchdown grabs. Talk about a shutdown corner.

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3. Can't Escape the Champ

tackling
Chris Humphreys- USA TODAY Sports

Bailey has recorded 925 tackles in his 15-year career. Even if a receiver manages to catch a ball near him, they will not be able to score that easily. This further exemplifies his abilities as a true shutdown corner.

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2. Pro Bowl Selections

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Bailey's performance during the season has paid off in a huge way. In the 15 years he has played, he was nominated to play in the Pro Bowl a record 12 times during his career. This is the most for any player in his position, and he has played in 11 of them. Talk about a decorated player.

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1. All-Pro Teams

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If you thought the 12 Pro Bowl selections were impressive then you will be quite impressed with this one. Since 1999, Bailey has been a part of seven All-Pro teams, including a stretch where he was a member of that team from 2003-2007. If seven selections do not get you into the Hall of Fame then nothing will.