ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Eventually, Pat Bowlen's wait will end. At some point in the near future, perhaps as soon as 2019, the Broncos' owner for the last 33 years should take his place with the legends of the game.
But the wait will not end next year.
Bowlen was not chosen as the Contributors Committee nominee for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The committee instead opted to nominate former Washington and San Diego general manager Bobby Beathard, whose candidacy will be considered at the meeting of the full Selection Committee next Feb. 3 in Minneapolis, one day before Super Bowl LII.
The Contributors Committee bypassed Bowlen for this year despite the fact that his contributions to the league were legion, as he helped lift the entire NFL to new heights of prominence and prosperity, particularly in his roles on the NFL Finance Committee, the NFL Business Ventures Committee and his work as chairman of the NFL Broadcasting Committee.
In that role he handled negotiations on an $18 billion contract and helped lay the groundwork for making "Sunday Night Football" the primary prime-time game each week; as a result, SNF has been the highest-rated program on television for six consecutive seasons.
But as Bowlen said on March 23, 1984 -- the day he met the media for the first time as Broncos owner -- "Winning is more important than making money."
The first task was team success, and from a 13-3 season in his first year on the job through his 21st winning season last season, the accomplishments have accumulated quicker than the 300 wins he achieved faster than any owner in NFL history.
• Three Super Bowl wins
• Seven conference championships
• More Super Bowl appearances (seven) than losing seasons (five)
• Thirteen division titles
• Eighteen playoff appearances
• Most regular-season wins in the NFL
• Highest home attendance in the NFL since 1984
Bowlen's resume is that of a Hall of Famer, and with the Contributors Committee able to nominate two people for the 2019 Hall of Fame class, his time for induction could come soon.
In the meantime, the Broncos will remain underrepresented in the Hall of Fame.
Terrell Davis' induction earlier this month brought the total number of Hall members inducted at least in part for their contributions as Broncos to five. But that number pales in comparison with other franchises that also began play in the 1960s such as the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (14 Hall of Famers), Minnesota Vikings (13 Hall of Famers), San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (10 Hall of Famers) and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (10 Hall of Famers).
Those clubs have as many Super Bowl appearances combined (eight) as the Broncos do on their own. They have a single world championship among themselves; the Broncos have three.
Yet they average 11.75 Hall of Famers, a number that is almost certain to rise thanks to the Seniors Committee's nomination of Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile as a finalist for the 2018 class.
Life, and the Hall of Fame, aren't fair. And now Bowlen's wait, just like that of other deserving Broncos legends such as Steve Atwater, John Lynch, Randy Gradishar, Louis Wright and Karl Mecklenburg, will continue.