At 6’-6” and 240 lbs., Simon Fletcher was what Scouts like to call, a “Tweener.” Too tall and lanky to play Linebacker and not heavy enough to play on the line. However, Fletcher ended up a fixture playing Outside Linebacker in Denver’s 3-4 scheme, a position where he was a menace toward opposing Quarterbacks on a regular basis. Broncos Country soon found out that Simon was a Sack specialist.
Simon was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round (54th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft after playing college ball at Houston. He spent his entire 11 year career in Denver, playing both Outside Linebacker and Defensive End. Simon was the premier pass rusher for the Broncos, recording a franchise record 97.5 Sacks. His 16 Sacks in 1992 stood as the franchise season record up until Elvis Dumervil posted 17 in 2009. Fletcher also had a Sack in 10 Straight Games, an NFL Record shared with DeMarcus Ware.
Simon started 143 of 172 games during an 11-year career. He accumulated 828 Tackles, 97.5 Sacks, 2 Interceptions, 20 Forced Fumbles, 10 Fumbles Recovered and 1 Safety. During a stretch that spanned from November 15, 1992 through September 20, 1993, Fletcher had 15.5 sacks.
Team leader in Sacks 7 consecutive years (1988-1994)
11+ Sacks 5 consecutive seasons (1989-1993)
20 Career Multi-Sack Games
172 Consecutive Games Played
140 Consecutive starts-2nd (Billy Thompson 156)
Starter on 3 AFC Championship Teams (1986, 1987, 1989)
First-team Defense – Denver Broncos all-time 50th Anniversary team
“He’s so versatile, and that’s the thing that’s really helped us. He can play up and he can play down. In our nickel stuff, he’s a Defensive End. He’s a good rusher and he utilizes that ability. He’s an extra- effort guy. Simon’s taking advantage of what we’re trying to do. You’d like to think it’s coaching, but it’s really not. He’s just a great player. He’s quick enough to make a lot of plays.”
Simon had back to back 100 Tackle seasons in 1988 & 1989. The following 4 years he added 97, 89, 99 and 99 Tackles. He had 6 seasons (1988-93) with at least 9 Sacks. Fletcher averaged 73 Tackles, 8.9 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery throughout his career and didn’t miss a start in 9 seasons.
Fletcher would be overlooked by the media for his entire career. He is most likely the greatest player to have never been invited to the Pro-Bowl. Even his career year in 1992 when he had 16 sacks, 5 Forced Fumbles and 99 Tackles, he was snubbed for Derrick Thomas (14.5) and Bryan Cox (14 Sacks).
Due to the somewhat ominous fact that he never made a Pro Bowl, Simon will never be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there is one thing for sure— Simon Fletcher definitely belongs in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
Nothing against Tom Nalen, who will be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame, but I believe Rick Upchurch and then Simon Fletcher, in that order, should precede “Nails” on the Level 5 facade of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
– Kaptain Kirk