Longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt were named as contributor finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Bowlen, who had to step down from his daily duties of the Broncos in 2014 while battling Alzheimer’s disease, and Brandt were selected from a list of 10 finalists Thursday by the Hall of Fame contributor committee in Canton, Ohio.
The duo will be on the final ballot for Hall of Fame voting along with Seniors Finalist Johnny Robinson and five candidates from the modern era.
Bowlen was the majority owner of the Broncos since 1984, overseeing the club during a span in which it advanced to the Super Bowl seven times and won it on three occasions.
“This is an exciting day for our family and the Broncos fans who have been so supportive of Pat Bowlen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” the Bowlen family announced in a statement. “Pat would be the first to say it’s not just about him but a credit to the many players, coaches and executives he worked with over the years. We’re thankful to the Contributor Committee for recognizing the incredible impact Pat’s had on the NFL.
“As we look forward to the final vote, our family also congratulates Gil Brandt on his well-deserved nomination.”
Brandt spent 29 of his 34 years in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, helping build a franchise that would become known as “America’s Team.”
The Cowboys won a pair of Super Bowl championships and advanced to the Super Bowl five times during Brandt’s tenure with the club, which began with the franchise’s inception in 1960.
“This is, without question, one of the greatest things that have happened in my life,” said Brandt, per ESPN.
David Baker, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, delivered the news about Bowlen to current Broncos chief executive officer Joe Ellis.
“This is a great, great day for Denver and the Rocky Mountain region,” said Ellis.
Broncos general manager John Elway, who starred as a player for Denver, lauded Bowlen’s selection in a posting on his Twitter account.
“When you talk about contributors, nobody’s given more to the game than Pat Bowlen,” wrote Elway. “His impact on the Broncos and NFL will never be matched, and it’s great to see that recognized today. I can’t wait for the day Pat’s bust joins the Bronco family in the ProFootballHOF!”
Brandt, who served as Dallas’ vice president of player personnel, was driving home from a Cowboys practice when he received the call from Baker and had to steady himself behind the wheel.
“I might drive off the highway,” Brandt told Baker. “I’m excited. I’m lost for words, and that doesn’t happen very often.”
To be elected to the Hall of Fame, candidates must receive the same 80 percent voting support by the 48-member Selection Committee on “Selection Saturday,” next Feb. 2 in Atlanta.
The Class of 2019 will be enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton next Aug. 1-4.