Pat Bowlen, Champ Bailey elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

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ATLANTA — Both Pat Bowlen and Champ Bailey have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bowlen, 74, has owned the Denver Broncos since 1984. He relinquished day-to-day control before the 2014 season because of his battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

His youngest daughter, Annabel, said they Facetimed their dad when the family received the news.

“A lot of tears in the room,” she said.

Bowlen was key in securing the NFL’s future via a number of multibillion-dollar TV contracts. The Broncos have largely prospered during his tenure, winning more than 60 percent of their games. That included the 1998 Super Bowl, when the owner famously shouted “This one’s for John” — a tribute to John Elway winning his first title.

Former cornerback Champ Bailey, 40, played with Denver for about 10 years beginning in 2004. He previously played for the Redskins.

Like so many great cornerbacks, Bailey did not rewrite the record book, in part because he was, for a huge chunk of his career, considered the best cover guy in the league. So most quarterbacks simply avoided him.

Still, he made three All-Pro teams, 12 Pro Bowls and a none-too-shabby 52 interceptions. His best-remembered pick was a 103-yard return against Tom Brady in the 2006 playoffs that did not go for a touchdown. Denver did score shortly afterward, though, on the way to the win. Eight years later, Bailey made his only Super Bowl.

“This is home and timing was just right for it,” said Bailey, who grew up in southeast Georgia and played college ball at the University of Georgia. “Having Pat Bowlen go in, I never expected it to be like this. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s been a great ride.”

Ty Law, who played for the Broncos during the 2009-10 season, was also elected.

Neither Steve Atwater nor John Lynch were elected.

Atwater has been a Hall of Fame finalist two times. This year was Lynch’s sixth time as a finalist.

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