What does it take? Seriously. Again the Pro Football Hall of Fame failed to select Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in sub-committee for a final vote, to gain entry into the Hall of Fame.
Instead Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the cut of two for that vote, which takes place the day before Super Bowl 51 in Houston.
There has long been a perceived bias, perhaps not against the Broncos themselves but at least a ‘leaning’ that the Hall of Fame has towards teams that are named the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers or Giants with regard to overall membership and nominations of who goes into the illustrious Canton, Ohio history books.
The fact that in 32 seasons, all when Pat Bowlen has owned the Broncos that Denver has had 18 Playoff appearances, been in 7 Super Bowls with 3 World Championships and had only 5 losing seasons speaks volumes of how successful this franchise has been, a lot of it done in the league leveling era of free agency.
With these kinds of numbers wouldn’t you expect that more than 4 players, yes that’s correct, 4 Denver Broncos players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Quarterback John Elway, tight end Shannon Sharpe, offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman and running back Floyd Little, that’s it.
For one of the most consistently successful NFL teams of all-time to have only 4 players in the Hall of Fame is beyond belief. At the very least I could name three players who should definitely be inducted by now, two-time winning Super Bowl running back Terrell Davis, 7 time Pro Bowl linebacker Randy Gradishar and hard-hitting safety Steve Atwater. Now, unfortunately that list continues to grow with the snub of owner Pat Bowlen.
Consider how much ‘Mr. B’ as he is affectionately known has done for the NFL. He was the chairman of the Broadcast Committee overseeing TV deals and was integral in driving up broadcast money, he was involved in solving labor issues, working on the international growth of the NFL, turning it into a worldwide brand, not to mention the local philanthropic work.
He turned the Broncos into an NFL powerhouse, with QB John Elway at the helm. Denver are regulars on Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football largely because of what he created. Pat Bowlen was in it to win Super Bowls, not rest on the bottom line of how much money was coming in. He let coaches’ coach; GM’s make decisions and players play. Free agents knew if they signed with the Broncos a playoff run was a possibility and almost expected.
When John Elway hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy into the air triumphantly earlier this year signaling the Broncos as Super Bowl 50 Champions he yelled “This one’s for Pat”. It resonated around the NFL what ‘Mr B’ has done for the Denver Broncos and the reverence he holds within the Broncos family.
I know awards, nominations and inductions are subjective and nothing is guaranteed when opinions and agenda’s are involved. I won’t go so far as to say the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a joke, because its not, but the longer they ignore the Denver Broncos and the contributions its players and owner have made to the NFL, their integrity as an organization has to be in question.