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Encyclopedia > Steve Atwater
Steve Atwater
Position(s):
Safety
Jersey #(s):
27
Born: October 28, 1966 (1966-10-28) (age 41)
Chicago, Illinois
Career Information
Year(s): 19891999
NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20
College: Arkansas
Professional Teams
Career Stats
INT     24
INT yards     408
Touchdowns     1
Stats at NFL.com
Career Highlights and Awards

Stephen Dennis Atwater (born October 28, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football player who spent most of his career playing free safety for the Denver Broncos of the NFL. A diagram showing typical football positions In American football, each team has 11 players on the field at one time. ... In American football and Canadian football, a safety refers to two positions in the traditional defensive backfield setup, the strong safety and the free safety. ... In team sports, the squad number, jersey number, sweater number, or uniform number is the number worn on a players outfit. ... is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... In an organised sports league, a season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session. ... The 1989 NFL season was the 70th regular season of the National Football League. ... The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League. ... The NFL Draft (officially the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting[1]) is an annual sports draft in which National Football League (NFL) teams take turns, through seven rounds[2], selecting amateur college American football players and other first-time eligible players. ... Round 1 Category: ... This is a list of athletic conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). ... The University of Arkansas is a public co-educational land-grant university. ... League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Western Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference (1970–present) AFC West (1970–present) Current uniform Team colors Broncos Navy Blue, Orange, White[1] Mascot Thunder II (live horse) Miles (person in costume suit) Personnel Owner Pat Bowlen... The 1989 NFL season was the 70th regular season of the National Football League. ... The 1998 NFL season was the 79th regular season of the National Football League. ... City East Rutherford, New Jersey Other nicknames Gang Green, the Green and White, Jersey Jets Team colors Hunter green and white Head Coach Eric Mangini Owner Woody Johnson General manager Mike Tannenbaum League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Eastern Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American... The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League. ... An interception or intercept is a move in many forms of football, including Canadian and American football football, as well as rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, and involves a pass (either by foot or hand) being cut off by an opposition player who usually gains... An interception or intercept is a move in many forms of football, including Canadian and American football football, as well as rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, and involves a pass (either by foot or hand) being cut off by an opposition player who usually gains... A touchdown is the primary method of scoring in American and Canadian football, in which the ball carrier causes the football to break the plane of the end zone, thus earning 6 points for his team (in both codes). ... In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). ... The 1991 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 3, 1991 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1992 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 2, 1992 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1993 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 6, 1993 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1994 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 6, 1994 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1995 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 5, 1995 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1996 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 4, 1996 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1997 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 2, 1997 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The 1999 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 7, 1999 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... The NFL 1990s All-Decade Team was a fictional team comprised of outstanding performers in the National Football League in the 1990s chosen by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ... is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players, who take positions directly behind the line of scrimmage. ... League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Western Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference (1970–present) AFC West (1970–present) Current uniform Team colors Broncos Navy Blue, Orange, White[1] Mascot Thunder II (live horse) Miles (person in costume suit) Personnel Owner Pat Bowlen... NFL redirects here. ...

Contents

Early life

He attended Lutheran High School North in St. Louis, Missouri. Steve was selected all-conference and league Most Valuable Player as a wishbone formation quarterback and was the school's top scholar-athlete. He credits his coach there, Karel Wegert, as serving as a mentor for him both as a football player and becoming an exemplary citizen. This article should belong in one or more categories. ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... A variant of the wishbone formation with two running backs (RB), two wide receivers (WR), a quarterback (QB), a fullback (FB), and five down linemen (OL). ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ...


College

Atwater signed with the University of Arkansas, where he was moved from quarterback to safety. Atwater was named to the All-Southwest Conference team three times and named as an All-American twice. Atwater finished as the Razorbacks' all-time leader in interceptions with 14. Helping his stock as a pro prospect was his appearance in the Senior Bowl, where he logged two interceptions. The Arkansas Razorbacks, also known as the Hogs, are the names of college sports teams at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. ... The Southwest Conference (SWC) was a college athletic conference in the United States, now defunct. ... All-American, a Broadway musical with book by Mel Brooks, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Lee Adams, opened in New York on March 19, 1962, and played 80 performances. ... The Senior Bowl is an all-star college football exhibition game usually played either at or towards the end of the college football season in January. ...


Professional career

Denver Broncos

He was drafted out of the University of Arkansas by the Broncos with the 20th pick in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. The Broncos began the draft with the 13th overall pick and were hoping to upgrade their defense which had ranked 27th (out of a possible 28) against the run the previous year. Knowing that Atwater would be available in the later parts of the first round, the Broncos traded down to the 20th overall pick owned by the Cleveland Browns who selected Eric Metcalf with Denver's 13th overall pick. Atwater was projected by most as the second best safety in the draft behind Louis Oliver who was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 25th overall pick. However, then Denver Broncos head coach Dan Reeves selected Atwater over Oliver because of his leadership skills which Reeves felt were badly needed following the defense's let downs during the 1988 season. The University of Arkansas is a public co-educational land-grant university. ... Round 1 Category: ...


New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips employed Atwater close to the line of scrimmage in order to fortify Denver's run defense and Atwater led the team in tackles, finishing with 129 tackles his rookie season. Denver's defense jumped an incredible 20 spots to finish 7th against the run and tied for 3rd best in yards per carry with a mere 3.7 yard average. That same year, Atwater finished 2nd to Kansas City's Derrick Thomas in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Creating an NFL Films gem in his rookie season, Atwater picked off cannon-armed QB Jay Schroeder standing right in front of him almost immediately as he released the ball intended for downfield. The additions of rookies Steve Atwater and Bobby Humphrey, along with key free agent signings helped Denver rebound from 8-8 in 1988 to AFC Super Bowl representative in 1989. Derrick Vincent Thomas (January 1, 1967 – February 8, 2000) was an NFL linebacker who played his entire professional career for the Kansas City Chiefs. ... NFL Films is a Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based company devoted to producing commercials, television programs, feature films, and documentaries on the National Football League, as well as other unrelated major events and awards shows. ...


Atwater's second season marked the first of seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections (1990-1996), tied for most in franchise history. Over his career, Atwater was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, second most in franchise history. Early in his career, Atwater teamed with fellow Broncos safety Dennis Smith to form one of the best safety tandems of their generation. Both would later be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame. During his 10 year career in Denver, Atwater started in 155 games, tying him for seventh in franchise history for games started. He also started in 14 post-season games. Of particular note was Super Bowl XXXII, where he posted one of the best performances, if not the best performance ever, by a safety in a Super Bowl and one of the greatest games of his career. In that game, he is credited with six solo tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and a forced fumble. In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). ... Dennis Smith (born February 3, 1959 in Santa Monica) is a retired american football safety who wore number 49 for the National Football League Denver Broncos between 1981 and 1994. ... Date January 25, 1998 Stadium Qualcomm Stadium City San Diego MVP Terrell Davis, Running back Favorite Packers by 11 1/2 National anthem Jewel Coin toss Joe Gibbs, Doug Williams, Eddie Robinson Referee Ed Hochuli Halftime show Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Tops Attendance 68...


But statistics alone can not describe his impact on that game. Atwater, as the captain of the defense, kept the Broncos' defense's morale high with hit after hit while his sack and forced fumble resulted in 3 critical points in the 2nd quarter when the Broncos offense had stalled without star running back Terrell Davis. Atwater's presence near the line of scrimmage also kept Green Bay's running game at check, and in the 4th quarter he knocked down a critical pass on a blitz where the WR was left wide open in the waning minutes of the game with the score tied at 24-24 on a 3rd and 8, forcing the packers to punt where they would have had 1st and 10 near the Broncos 20 yard line. That critical stop gave Denver's offense the ball where otherwise momentum would have shifted to the defending champions. Then on Green Bay's final drive, Atwater's hit with less than a minute remaining left the packers in 4th and 6 and no remaining timeouts due to NFL rules regarding injuries to players in the final two minutes of a game. Many argued that Atwater should have been the MVP of the game and the ensuing article in The Sporting News pictured Atwater and noted the impact of his hits on the game. Terrell Lamar Davis (born October 28, 1972 in San Diego, California) is a former American football running back who played for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League from 1995 to 2001. ... The Sporting News (TSN) is an American-based sports newspaper. ...


Super Bowl XXXII was Atwater's last great game, and 1997 his last great season. In 1998, he was relegated to only playing on 1st and 2nd downs and replaced on 3rd downs. Nevertheless, because of the viewership of the Super Bowl from the previous year, he was voted as a starter to the Pro Bowl for an 8th and final time. Following the Pro Bowl voting, the Denver Post noted that Atwater's selection to the Pro Bowl was due only to having had played one good game that year- and that the game wasn't even played that season- referring to Super Bowl XXXII (played in February 1998). Denver went on to win the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year, marking Super Bowl XXXIII as Atwater's final game with the Denver Broncos. Date January 25, 1998 Stadium Qualcomm Stadium City San Diego MVP Terrell Davis, Running back Favorite Packers by 11 1/2 National anthem Jewel Coin toss Joe Gibbs, Doug Williams, Eddie Robinson Referee Ed Hochuli Halftime show Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Tops Attendance 68... Date January 25, 1998 Stadium Qualcomm Stadium City San Diego MVP Terrell Davis, Running back Favorite Packers by 11 1/2 National anthem Jewel Coin toss Joe Gibbs, Doug Williams, Eddie Robinson Referee Ed Hochuli Halftime show Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Tops Attendance 68...


New York Jets

Steve left the Broncos following the 1998 season, signing with the New York Jets as a free agent for his final season in 1999. In his book "Think like a Champion," coach Mike Shanahan wrote about Steve's departure: City East Rutherford, New Jersey Other nicknames Gang Green, the Green and White, Jersey Jets Team colors Hunter green and white Head Coach Eric Mangini Owner Woody Johnson General manager Mike Tannenbaum League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Eastern Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American... In North American professional sports, particularly baseball, football, and basketball, a free agent is a team player whose contract with a team has expired, and the player is able to sign a contract with another team. ... Events of 2008: (EMILY) Me Lesley and MIley are going to China! This article is about the year. ...


"The toughest decision I've ever had to make as a head coach happened a mere two weeks after we beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. We were getting ready to leave for the annual college scouting combine in Indianapolis...when our eight-time Pro Bowl safety and defensive captain Steve Atwater dropped by our training complex. He visited our defensive coordinator, Greg Robinson, and defensive back coach, Ed Donatell, inquiring about his future. Steve was smart enough to know that we were scheduled to pay him $3 million in 1999 and that we were pressed up against the NFL-imposed salary cap...He asked Gred and Ed 'Am I going to be here? What's my status for next year?'


In all honesty, our initial plan was to wait until March 1st, when we would have asked Steve to take a salary reduction to give us more flexibility under the salary cap...but the more I thought about it, and the more I agonized over it, the more I realized that...it could not wait, not when Steve had brought the issue to a head... It would have been so simple to temporarily sweep the problem underneath the rug. It certainly would have made things easier on me and the organization for a while. But that would not have been fair to Steve. So, in what was the most difficult decision I've had to make...I decided to cut Steve.


...the decision was best for all parties. We saved money we needed, Steve had a chance to shop himself as an unrestricted free agent, and he wound up signing a three-year, $8.2 million contract with the New York Jets. Is it easy picturing Steve in green and white...? No. Was it the right thing for him and our team? Absolutely."


Atwater played for the New York Jets for one season, which was marred by injuries, then retired. He signed a one-day ceremonial contract with the Broncos, closing practice with a two-hand touch tackle of running back Terrell Davis, before announcing his retirement from football. "This is the way I wanted to go out," Atwater said. "I bleed orange and will always bleed orange and blue." He left as one of the most popular and loved Bronco players in the history of the franchise.


Legacy

Atwater is remembered and celebrated both for his play as well as his leadership. Atwater was the captain of the Broncos defense for both Super Bowl winning years of 1997 and 1998. For the majority of his career, Atwater was used by Denver much like a linebacker as an 8th defender to stop the run. His impact on opposing offense's run games can best be described by the following statistic: prior to his arrival in 1988, Denver's defense was ranked next to last in rushing defense in surrendering 2538 yards that year and a league worst 4.6 yard average. In 1989, Steve's first year, Denver's defense jumped 20 places to tie for 7th against the run by surrendering a mere 1580 yards (almost 1000 yards better) and also tied for 3rd best with a 3.7 yard average.


Steve's hit against Christian Okoye of the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football September 17, 1990 was but one example of his impact on opposing teams' running games. Atwater routinely lined up as close or closer than a linebacker to the line of scrimmage such that on a 3rd and 3, he was able to come up as a safety and drop Okoye for a two yard gain with a thundering hit. The audio of the hit was recorded and has been featured in numerous productions from NFL Films. Christian The Nigerian Nightmare Okoye is a former American Football running back for the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-1992). ... League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Western Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference (1970-present) AFC West (1970-present) Current uniform Team colors Red, White and Gold Mascot K. C. Wolf (1985-present) Warpaint (1963-1988) Personnel Owner The Hunt Family (Clark Hunt... MNF redirects here. ... is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... NFL Films is a Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based company devoted to producing commercials, television programs, feature films, and documentaries on the National Football League, as well as other unrelated major events and awards shows. ...


Because of his unique role as an 8th defender against the run, Atwater achieved extraordinary numbers in terms of tackles by a free safety in recording 129 tackles in 1989, 173 tackles in 1990, 151 tackles in 1992, 141 tackles in 1993, 125 tackles in 1994, and 148 tackles in 1995, before shifting to a more traditional safety role in 1996 under head coach Mike Shanahan. Over a 10 year Bronco career, Atwater totalled an astounding 1,301 tackles. He was named to the NFL's All Decade Team for the 1990s. Michael Edward Shanahan (born August 24, 1952) is an American football coach of the Denver Broncos in the National Football League. ...


On October 9, 2005, Steve Atwater was enshrined into the Broncos Ring of Fame at Invesco Field at Mile High. When asked about his fondest memory, Atwater spoke of Super Bowl XXXII "That's the highlight of my NFL career, bar none," Atwater said. "People ask me, 'What's your greatest moment -- your greatest memory?' Aside from my family, that is it. I can't even explain. I still get chills when I think about it." is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... West entrance of INVESCO Field at Mile High INVESCO Field at Mile High is a sporting event and events stadium in Denver, Colorado. ...


Atwater's throwback jersey, released by Mitchell & Ness, has become one of the most popular among Broncos fans and can frequently be seen at Broncos games and in the Colorado area.


Statistics

Years pro: 11
Pro Bowls: 8
All-Pro: 6
Consensus All-NFL: 1991, 1992
Playoff games: 14
Super Bowl rings: 2
Tackles: 1356 (includes 55 as a member of the New York Jets)
Interceptions: 24


In his 11 NFL seasons, Atwater returned his 24 interceptions for 408 yards and a touchdown. He also forced 12 fumbles and recovered 8 others and returned them for 42 yards.


Source: Cold, Hard Football Facts.com [1]


External links

  • Pro-Football-Reference.com - career statistics.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Steve Atwater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (423 words)
Steve was a quarterback and free safety in high school.
Atwater signed with the University of Arkansas, where he moved to safety and where he was named to the All-Southwest Conference team three times and named as an All-American twice.
Atwater, and fellow Broncos safety Dennis Smith formed one of the most feared safety tandems of their generation.
Steve Atwater at AllExperts (396 words)
Stephen Dennis Atwater (born October 28, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football player who spent most of his career playing free safety for the Denver Broncos of the NFL.
Steve was a quarterback in high school and led Lutheran North to their first State Championship in 1981.
Steve left the Broncos after signing with the New York Jets as a free agent for his final season in 1999.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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