Hall of Fame Bound: One-Game Stint for Kendall Hinton Does the Trick

Nov 29, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Kendall Hinton (2) throws the ball against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When Kendall Hinton found out that he was going to be thrust into the starting quarterback role against the New Orleans Saints in late November of 2020, his team put him into some famous company. Now, although he’s back to his original position of wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, he has a piece of history in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

All four quarterbacks within the Broncos’ position room ahead of their Week 12 matchup with the Saints last season either tested positive or were placed into COVID-19 protocols, which forced them to miss the game, resulting in Hinton being promoted from the practice squad as the team’s emergency QB. While Hinton only managed one completion out of nine pass attempts, his wristband worn during the game will be featured at a new exhibit at the Hall that highlights some of the odd occurrences during the COVID-ravaged season of 2020.

The display, which is known as the “season review,” includes artifacts, such as Hinton’s wristband, that highlight and tell a story of how the previous season shaped the NFL.

While he was unsuccessful in his NFL quarterback debut (the Broncos lost the game 31-3), Hinton still had some fun with the whole idea of the exhibit. With his wristband being featured, he took to Twitter to poke fun at himself for his bad day.

“What a blessing. Still unreal . . . unfortunately I’ll have to explain to my kids what a negative QBR is someday,” Hinton said.

While switching to QB is a surreal experience for some NFLers, Hinton actually did not finish with a negative quarterback rating for that game. His rating statistically was 0.1.

However, playing quarterback is not entirely new for Hinton, as he started his college career as a signal-caller for the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University, before converting to wide receiver.

And what happened last year is also not a first-time occurrence in the NFL. According to an NFL.com article, “Hinton’s wristband will be displayed alongside that of former Colts running back Tom Matte, who wore it in 1965 when pressed into emergency QB duty.”

Hinton’s goal of staying on Denver’s roster will run into some difficult competition. There will be pressure from his coaches, but he received praise for stepping in an emergency.

With COVID altering plans in the 2020 season, being ready on a moment’s notice with the next-man-up mentality became a very important piece to remember for teams. However, for the former Demon Deacon, being ready gave him some high praise from teammates and coaching staff.

“With barely any practice and one day’s notice, Hinton was put into an impossible situation. Statistically, he didn’t do well —– Hinton threw more interceptions than completions —– but the receiver’s resilience and willingness to take on the task was commended by his teammates, coaches, and fans.”

That resiliency could make him a fan favorite as he pursues to make the team again in 2021. He will have some stiff competition to deal with, however.

“The 24-year-old Hinton is back at receiver in Denver, battling for a roster spot. Hinton has impressed coaches this offseason and has a shot at making the club as a depth player behind Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler. If Hinton makes the team, it would just add to his wild ride, a ride that will forever be remembered in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

After a wild ride in his rookie season for 2020, the undrafted free agent Kendall Hinton looks to make the Broncos as a development player and a better wide receiver in 2021 for Denver.