We are now just a couple of weeks away from a highly anticipated day in Broncos Country — the day before Super Bowl LIII — when Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen is expected to be selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Denver also goes into the process with cornerback Champ Bailey, safety Steve Atwater, safety John Lynch and cornerback Ty Law, who played just one season in Denver at the end of his career, up for consideration.
Clearly, my greatest hopes rest with Atwater, Bailey and Lynch (solely in alphabetical order), and it would be wonderful to see one — or, dare I dream, two — of them joining Pat Bowlen for induction.
Because he is a finalist from the Contributors Committee, as is Gil Brandt of the Dallas Cowboys, members of the selection committee do not have to vote on them at the exclusion of voting on Modern-Era finalists, which are limited to five possible selectees for final voting. The same goes for Johnny Robinson of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, who was the finalist selected by the Seniors Committee. Mr. B, Brandt and Robinson at this point are simply a "yea" or "nay" vote and their selection does not take anyone away from the other finalists list.
And each individual is a separate vote, so it is not out of the question that more than one could be selected from a given team.
Mr. B would (and will) be our ninth member of the Hall of Fame. Many individuals erroneously think we just have five members now, rather than the eight members we actually have.
But the Pro Football Hall of Fame designates members as representing all teams for which they played (no one "goes in" as a Bronco, contrary to common thought).
The Hall of Fame describes members as "primary" for teams they made "the major part of their primary contribution for any one club." The Broncos have Terrell Davis, John Elway, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe and Gary Zimmerman designated as "primary."
Willie Brown, Tony Dorsett and Brian Dawkins also are designated as Broncos, but their times in Denver are considered to be minor portions of their careers.
Interestingly, Zimmerman is listed as primary for two teams, Denver and Minnesota, having played a similar length of time for each organization and made significant contributions to each franchise.
But my fondest hope naturally revolves around getting one more member of the team to go in with Pat Bowlen, and we have a real shot due to the composition of the finalists.
Everyone who makes it into the room for discussion is already a great player, merely lacking the Hall of Fame status that potentially comes from that meeting.
There are four other people with Broncos connections who have been honored by the Hall of Fame, but non received those honors due to their time in the Mile High City.
Ring of Famer Tom Jackson received the Hall of Fame's 2016 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for his outstanding career as a broadcaster and analyst with ESPN.
Former Broncos general manager Fred Gehrke won the Hall of Fame's Ralph Hay Pioneer Award in 1972. He had a 16-year career in Denver, but he was recognized by the Hall for his work designing the first helmet logos, facemasks and the sideline kicking net.
Stan Jones was a defensive line coach for the Broncos for 18 years, but he was inducted in 1991 for his 12-year playing career for the Chicago Bears.
And Doak Walker coached Denver's wide receivers in 1966. One of the greatest running backs in football history, Walker was inducted in 1986 for his playing days with the Detroit Lions.
But this year, it is all about the aforementioned individuals, as well as the other 2019 Modern-Era finalists.
In addition to our Denver players noted earlier, the list includes tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, coach Don Coryell, guard Alan Faneca, coach Tom Flores, tight end Tony Gonzalez, guard Steve Hutchinson, running back Edgerrin James, center Kevin Mawae, safety Ed Reed and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
That is a tough list from which to choose.
But I know with certainty that our Broncos — Atwater, Bailey, Lynch — and Law, whose time here was limited, were as great as any and are legitimate all-time greats.
The Broncos have the unusual franchise distinction of eight Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl wins with no primary Broncos defensive player in the Hall of Fame.
I am thus counting on the selection of Owner Pat Bowlen and am really pulling for even greater Bronco representation in the 2019 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.