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Horse Tracks: Could the Hall of Fame call for Broncos this week?

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With the paint all but dry on the most recent crop of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the first group of new candidates are about to be selected. Could some Denver Broncos be announced as 2017 finalists in the coming days? Which ones?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What does this mean? Well, it's more complicated than you think (or than it probably should be). I'll paraphrase below, but to see the criteria for both Senior Committee and Contributors Committee, click here.

For as long as I can remember, there have been two Senior Committee selections up for consideration each year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, because there is a backlog of contributors that haven't even been considered, there were changes made to the hall of fame bylaws. Starting in 2015 and over the next five years, the Seniors Committee and Contributors Committee will alternate the number of nominees they will be allowed to select. See the link above for the nuts and bolts of how and why this is the way it is.

What does it mean for Denver this year?

Because the year for induction is 2017, the Senior Committee gets to select one player and the Contributors committee gets to select two players as finalists in consideration for election to the Hall of Fame.

When former Broncos running back Floyd Little made it to the Hall of Fame in 2010, he did so as a Senior Committee selection. Could other Broncos legends get the nod in the same way? Here's a list of players eligible to be selected by the Senior Committee:

Lionel Taylor, WR
Rich Jackson, DE
Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin, S
Randy Gradishar, ILB
Tom Jackson, OLB
Billy Thompson, S
Louis Wright, CB

So what about the Contributors Committee? A contributor is defined as any non-player or coach. The Broncos have one person who fits that bill and is Hall of Fame-worthy.

Broncos Country, I don't want to get your hopes up (especially regarding the Hall of Fame), but Pat Bowlen's contributions to the game and the Denver Broncos are pretty damn undeniable. If Bowlen is selected by the contributor committee, he automatically becomes a finalist and isn't subject to the multiple rounds of winnowing down the nominees.

It's unlikely the Seniors Committee will select a Denver Bronco, but I honestly have to say that with two contributors being considered this year, Pat Bowlen has a legitimate chance of receiving football's highest honor. We'll just have to wait and see what happens this week.


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