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The Next Step: Retired longtime NFL executive Joe Browne on Owner Pat Bowlen's impact on the NFL

During Pat Bowlen's 35 years as the owner of the Denver Broncos, he has left his mark on the team, the Denver area and the larger NFL community. The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Contributors Committee recognized his remarkable accomplishments — which include a winning legacy and immeasurable contributions to the league's growth — by selecting him as a finalist for the Class of 2019. As the final vote approaches, will speak with a number of people who have seen firsthand Pat Bowlen's impact on the Broncos and the NFL.

We continue with retired longtime NFL executive Joe Browne, who interacted with Bowlen on numerous occasions during Bowlen's work with the league. Browne saw how Bowlen worked on a variety of committees — and how he prioritized the league's best interests.

Now, Browne describes, in his own words, why Bowlen deserves to take the next step and be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I had the good fortune to work closely with Pat since he bought the Broncos in 1984. He was in our New York league office more often than most owners because he volunteered to serve countless hours on league committees, including labor relations and broadcasting.

"Over the years, he became someone whom three commissioners relied heavily on for advice and counsel … Pete Rozelle in the '80s, then Paul Tagliabue and finally Roger [Goodell].

"Pat never was a 'me' or 'I' person … it was always 'we' and 'us.' He had the good of the league in mind first. If Pat agreed with the then-commissioner on a proposed course of action, then we had a wise, committed partner and ally going forward.

"Pat, during his years as the Broncos CEO, was a proven leader, a consensus builder working with the other clubs, and someone who had tremendous pride in being a member of the NFL.

"The only days that I didn't enjoy being with Pat were the days immediately after a Broncos loss. He was a fierce competitor, especially when it came to playing the other three teams in the AFC West division.

"If you ask me whether he belongs in Canton, the answer is an unequivocal 'Yes.'

"I hope for Pat's family and for the Broncos fans whom Pat loved, that this time, the selectors make the right decision and nominate him for the Hall."

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