Don’t be angry Broncos fans. Peter King understands your hard feelings and believes Pat Bowlen belongs in the Hall of Fame.

King, lead writer for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback and one of the voters on the contributor’s committee that earlier this week selected Paul Tagliabue and Jerry Jones to advance as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2017 class, was at UCHealth Training Center on Thursday for the final day of Denver Broncos training camp.

The Broncos and 49ers were engaged in their final joint practice before Saturday’s Preseason Week 2 game, but everyone roaming at the grounds at Broncos HQ was still talking about the fact that earlier in the week Broncos owner Pat Bowlen was excluded from that list of finalists as selected by King and his peers.

King granted Les Shapiro a one-on-one interview to help shed some light on the contributor committee’s decision, specifically as it affected Bowlen, the Denver Broncos organization and Broncos Country.

“If we make those decisions,” King told Shapiro, “it’s our responsibility to stand up and be accountable.

“I don’t believe any explanation that I make should mollify, or make anybody say, ‘Oh, now I get it, now we’re not mad.’ I’d still be be furious because Pat Bowlen deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

King believes Bowlen would have been the “easier sell” when it came to the final vote, but said in the committee’s opinion, Jones and Tagliabue were the more qualified candidates of the group.

Broncos Country has produced no shortage of arguments for Bowlen’s case over Jones, specifically, but King made it sound like the competition was more between Bowlen and Tagliabue than Bowlen and Jones. King called Jones, in his opinion, the most influential owner in the NFL in his time covering the NFL, which happens to coincide with the same period Bowlen has owned the Broncos.

Fans of Bowlen and the Broncos won’t necessarily feel better about the committee’s decision after listening to the full interview with King, but it does offer some insight and perspective from outside Broncos Country into the decision. Most importantly, it provides hope that Bowlen will have his day in Canton, if not in 2017.

Hear the full conversation with King, including whether or not a person’s health status has any impact on the decision-making process, in the podcast below…

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