Steve Atwater had already waited a long time.
His election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame had, at long last, arrived after more than 20 years since his final NFL game when he got "The Knock" on his hotel door in February. In a normal year, he would have donned his gold jacket, unveiled his bronze bust and officially been enshrined in the Hall of Fame just six months later.
Unfortunately, this is no normal year, and because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Atwater's wait will continue for one more year.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday morning that it has postponed all 2020 Enshrinement Festival events for a year. It is now scheduled for Aug. 5-9, 2021.
"We think it's the safest, best decision that we could make, given the circumstances," Hall of Fame president David Baker said. "… Frankly, we think that our mission is to honor the heroes of the game, and to do that without your friends and your families and your teammates and the fans that helped get you here, it just doesn't do it service. In the end, we thought the best thing to do, after talking to our board of trustees, was to put this enshrinement over to 2021. That'll be pretty special, because we will also enshrine, in a separate ceremony, the Class of 2021.
"So, our phrase right now is, 'It's going to be twice the fun in '21.'"
It certainly should be twice as much fun for Broncos fans, as Peyton Manning seems like an obvious shoo-in for the Class of 2021.
Who knows, it might even be three or four more times as fun; former Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar was a seniors finalist for the Class of 2020 Centennial Slate and former Broncos safety John Lynch was a modern-era finalist for a seventh time this past year.
Baker said the Class of 2021 enshrinement festivities will also take place over that same weekend, though in separate ceremonies, so you may want to start thinking about your travel plans soon.
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