The Denver Broncos celebrated the election of running back Terrell Davis to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. They want to continue the celebration into 2018 with owner Pat Bowlen.
We asked our listeners and readers last week in our Talk of Fame Network poll who was the most deserving contributor candidate for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 and offered up eight worthy candidates, including team owners, personnel gurus and a commissioner. Bowlen easily lapped the field, receiving 60.2 percent of the vote.
Former general manager Bobby Beathard was a distant second with 19.6 percent of the vote, followed by New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft at 7.3 percent and former Dallas Cowboys’ personnel director Gil Brandt at 6.9 percent.
Talk of Fame Network host Rick Gosselin cast his ballot for Beathard, while fellow host Ron Borges chose none of the above.
“Most qualified candidate on this ballot is Bucko Kilroy,” said Borges. “He spent over 50 years in the game and was an all-decade player in addition to being a successful personnel executive.”
But Kilroy received only 1.3 percent of the vote. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and former New York Giants GM George Young received two percent of the vote apiece. No one on this slate could compete with Bowlen.
During his 32-year tenure as owner, the Broncos have enjoyed more winning seasons (21) and won more games (320) than any other NFL team. The Broncos have won 13 division titles, seven AFC championships and three Lombardi Trophies. Incredibly, the Broncos have more Super Bowl appearances (seven) than losing seasons (five) under Bowlen.
“Pat gave us every opportunity to be successful,” former quarterback-turned-Broncos-GM John Elway told the Talk of Fame Network last week. “He never pulled any punches with us, and, with the resources he had to give us, he gave us.”
Beathard had a hand in building seven Super Bowl teams in four different cities – Kansas City, Miami, Washington and San Diego. He started out as a scout with the Chiefs, then became a personnel director with the Dolphins before his promotion to general manager with both the Redskins and Chargers. His greatest success came during an 11-year run as the general manager of the Redskins, where he drafted Hall-of-Famers Darrell Green and Art Monk and won three Super Bowls.
In the three years of the contributor committee, there have been two owners, two general managers and a commissioner nominated. There were two such candidates in 2017, Jerry Jones and Tagliabue, but there will be only one for the Class of 2018. The Hall’s nine-member contributor committee meets at the end of August to make that selection.