There are two words Broncos Country needs to speak this week.
No, not the four that all but Carolina Panthers fans want to hear from John Elway. You know what they are.
These two words are all you need to say: "Thank you."
Without Pat Bowlen, none of this is possible. The Denver Broncos aren't in Santa Clara, Calif., for their eighth Super Bowl, seventh with him as owner. They're not five days away from a possible third Lombardi Trophy if they win Super Bowl 50.
Without Mr. B, the last 32 years don't happen.
The only thing that could make this week better is if Bowlen were able to be there, see it and be a part of this accomplishment. But his health won't allow it.
Talk about added motivation for the coaches and players.
"Mr B is one of us. He was always around the weight room or practice." pic.twitter.com/7XR6fercXI— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 30, 2016
"We talk about Mr. B a lot," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said after practice on Saturday. "There are obviously a lot of older players in this organization that know him. There are people in this organization that know him extremely well and there are young kids who have probably never met him - maybe have not even seen him this year.
"Actually, I had (Broncos President and CEO) Joe (Ellis) talk to the football team (Saturday) before we called it a week about Mr. B, how he's doing and how he'd be very proud of this football team. It was a very good moment."
As this Super Bowl trip shows yet again, Mr. Bowlen gets it.
He's not only a great businessman, he knows what it takes to win. He never plays with scared money, trusts the people around him and stays out of the way. You never saw Mr. Bowlen do an interview. You never saw a shot of him from the owner's box if you watched the game on TV. He never sent an email.
That's because it's not about him, it's about the Broncos. It's about the coaches, players and everyone else in the organization. It's about the fans.
That's why there is so much love for him, and why it hurts so much that he cannot be there on Sunday.
One stat tells the story of Mr. Bowlen: The Broncos have more Super Bowl appearances, 7, than losing seasons, 5, since he bought the franchise in 1983.
No matter how many times you see that stat, it boggles the mind. That deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and by next year.
His importance to the franchise was awarded with his induction in the Broncos Ring of Fame this season. You might remember what happened that Sunday Night against the Green Bay Packers.
That's not to say the same will happen on Sunday against the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, but it should put fans at ease. As Elway and Kubiak have said for the last week, this whole experience is for him. They'll continue to say it as the game draws closer.
In a game where any added motivation can make the difference between winning or losing, take a deep breath, Broncos Country. For the Broncos, that motivation will come from Mr. B.
It's ironic because he wouldn't want all of this attention. He would hate that he's their "inspiration."
Remember, it's never been about him.
But the four words the team could hear from Elway if/when it wins on Sunday drives the coaches and players.
They want to hear those four words.
They want to do this for the man who made it possible.
Broncos fans want to hear it. They have wanted to hear it for over two years.
Now is the time.
Before we get there, two words need to be said.
From every owner in the NFL to the fans (yes, even Panthers fans). Without Mr. B, the league as it exists today does not.
But especially fans of the Broncos.
We would give anything to see him on the sidelines in one of those awesome fur coats. It might be a little warm in Santa Clara, but those were dope.
At the very least, we want him there.
Since he can't, those two words Broncos Country needs to speak are even more important.