If former Broncos running back Terrell Davis had a chance to speak before the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee about his former boss and owner Pat Bowlen, he would tell it this: It’s time.
It’s time, he would say, for Bowlen to be inducted into the Hall as a contributor. It’s time, after more than 33 years of ownership in which he guided the Broncos to 343 total wins, 21 winning seasons, seven conference championships and three Super Bowl titles.
“Look at not only the history of the Broncos and the success on the field-Pat Bowlen has run a first-class franchise since way before I got here,” Davis said Wednesday. “It’s in the stats, just look at the numbers. It’s one of the most successful winning franchises in the NFL.
“He doesn’t get the credit, and a lot of it is because he didn’t want the credit. Don’t think about the big names. Talk to the players and talk to the fans. Talk to the media and talk to the people in Denver. They can tell you what a great Owner Pat Bowlen is. That should make the decision for you.”
Davis was elected in February after waiting 11 years. For eight, he made it to the semifinal round. For the last three, he was a finalist, one step away from getting the knock.
The Class of 2017 included one contributor in Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has led his franchise to unprecedented success but whose ownership style and decisions have often been controversial.
“Jerry is a figure that’s out there. If you think about the NFL and owners, you think about Jerry Jones,” Davis said. “He’s the GM as well. He’s constantly on the radio and TV. He’s very outspoken. I’m not saying any of that hurts you, it helps you. It helped me. Being on the NFL Network helped me, and I’m aware of that. I had to stay relevant and I had to stay out there so that people wouldn’t forget me. If you’re out there and people are talking about you, it’s easier for guys to vote. When you have to dig down to find a name it’s hard. I had the same conversation with Steve Atwater. I told him we need to get him out there. Steve doesn’t want the credit and I know that. I know he’s very humble. I get it, but we’ve got to get you out there.”
Davis is only the fifth Bronco elected to the Hall, following John Elway (inducted in 2004), tackle Gary Zimmerman (2008), running back Floyd Little (2010) and tight end Shannon Sharpe (2011).
Maybe Bowlen will be the sixth in 2018.
“I am confident that Pat Bowlen is going in. It’s a question of when,” Davis said. “We’ve got to get more momentum behind it, but I think he’s going it. I can’t wait for that day to happen.”
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Pat Bowlen has guided the Broncos to 343 total wins, seven Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl titles during his 33 years as owner.