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'Surreal': Pat Bowlen Elected To The Pro Football Hall Of Fame As A Contributor

(CBS4) - Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall's selection committee has voted Bowlen in as a Contributor.

Pat Bowlen holds trophy with family
Pat Bowlen (file photo credit: Getty Images)

"I'm just happy for him. It's a culmination of a tremendous life in football and it's well-deserved," Broncos president Joe Ellis said. "All the work that he did for the league and then his leadership with the Broncos and the success he had with the team, everything he did with the community—he put it all together and it's a well-deserved honor."

Bowlen has been the Broncos owner since 1984, and the team has won three Super Bowls during that time. He hasn't been involved in team operations since 2014 when it was officially announced that he had Alzheimer's disease.

"There were a ton of emotions and it was incredible to be able to experience it together as a family," Brittany Bowlen, one of Pat's daughter's, said when she and other family members learned Bowlen was elected on Saturday. "We Facetimed my dad and he was there with his best friend, my mom and the people that help take care of him. It was surreal to be able to tell him that he was a legend."

Former Broncos star cornerback Champ Bailey also received the honor as a player in his first year of eligibility.

"I think that it means the world to him to have Champ representing the Broncos as a player," Pat's daughter Beth Bowlen Wallace said. "I think he's sad that the two other players that were Broncos did not get in. I know that he would expect us to fight for them in the future -- Steve Atwater and John Lynch. But having Champ go in with him, I'm sure he's thrilled about that."

When Bowlen bought the majority stake in the Broncos he was known at the time as a Canadian oilman with a fortune built on oil and gas and real estate.

Unveiling Of Pat Bowlen statue At Broncos Stadium
The unveiling of the Pat Bowlen statue on Oct. 19, 2014, outside Mile High. (credit: CBS)

Bowlen quickly showed determination to win as an owner and the team hired a respected head coach, Dan Reeves, and acquired quarterback John Elway.

The Broncos made three Super Bowl trips in four years in the 1980s and Bowlen's reputation grew in the league. His business acumen made him a star, not just in the front office but in the boardrooms of New York as well.

Pat Bowlen
(credit: CBS)

As a member of the NFL's most powerful committees, Bowlen helped shape the future of professional football. Record-breaking TV deals and years of labor peace were just some of the accomplishments. He wound up serving on 15 different league committees.

RELATED: Pat Bowlen Is Now Pro Football's Fourth Winningest Team Owner

After the hiring of Coach Mike Shanahan in the 1990s the team won two Super Bowls. They also made it to two Super Bowls earlier this decade with John Elway back on the team in a GM role and Peyton Manning at quarterback. They were victorious in the latter -- Super Bowl 50.

Ring Of Fame
(credit: CBS)

In 2015, the Broncos Ring of Fame Bowlen created added his name.

"This represents the first time multiple Broncos have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the same class. Bowlen and Bailey become the sixth and seventh Broncos to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame," the Broncos said in a news release.

Bowlen and Bailey (as well as Ty Law who was briefly on the Broncos at the end of his career) join the other following Broncos who are in the Hall:

John Elway (a Bronco from 1983-1998)
Shannon Sharpe (1990-99, 2002-03)
Gary Zimmerman (1993-1997)
Terrell Davis (1995-2001)
Brian Dawkins (2009-2011)
Floyd Little (1967-1975)
Willie Brown (1963-1966)
Tony Dorsett (1988)

RELATED: Watch Super Bowl LIII On CBS4!

The enshrinement ceremony for Bowlen and other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will take place on Saturday, Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.

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