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Harald Hasselbach, NFL Legend and Two Time Super Bowl Champion, Dies at 56

Harald Hasselbach, NFL Legend and Two Time Super Bowl Champion, Dies at 56

Harald Hasselbach, a revered Bronco and integral part of Denver’s consecutive Super Bowl championship teams, has passed away at age 56. The Denver Broncos shared that Hasselbach peacefully passed away in the comfort of his own home, after a six-month struggle with cancer. According to reports, his passing resulted from a battle with mucinous adenocarcinoma, a form of colorectal cancer.

During his seven seasons (1994-2000) with the Broncos, Hasselbach, a defensive lineman, displayed exceptional durability by appearing in every regular season and postseason game. He not only started 29 regular-season contests for the Broncos but also played a vital role in their journey to a Super Bowl XXXIII championship, starting in all three games. In his tenure with Denver, Hasselbach amassed an impressive stat line of 154 tackles, 17.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles.

Teammates and fans reached on to pay tribute to Hasselbach on social media. Teammate Ed McCaffrey called him a “gentle giant” who was gone “much too early.”

“I’m so heartbroken,” a fan replied to McCaffrey’s post. “I can’t believe he is gone so young. My condolences to his family, teammates, and friends. He was a great person and will be missed.”

Other fans shared fond memories of the Super Bowl legend. “I remember meeting Harald Hasselbach at the Denver Rodeo when I was a kid,” a fan wrote on Twitter. “He chatted with me for 10 [minutes], said that he was hoping he would get to meet me someday and he couldn’t wait to play on the Broncos with me I told everyone at school and I was a legend for weeks.”

Harald Hasselbach has a Rare Distinction Among Super Bowl Champions

Hasselbach, born in Amsterdam, had a nomadic childhood, traversing countries like the Netherlands, Indonesia, Kenya, and Canada. Although not a prominent college football player, he once made an impressive tackle on Emmitt Smith. Of course, Smith would go on to become the NFL‘s all-time leading rusher.

In 1990, he initially signed with the Canadian Football League, earning the honor of being named a CFL All-Star and securing a Grey Cup triumph. He spent four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders before transitioning to the NFL in 1994.

He is among a select few players who have achieved victory in both a Grey Cup and a Super Bowl. Following his retirement from the NFL, he pursued a coaching role at Regis Jesuit High School, specializing in defense. In recognition of his accomplishments, Hasselbach was honored with induction into the British Columbia Football Hall of Fame in 2016.