In Colorado, we whine sometimes. I do. You do. Our guys don’t get the respect they should. The whining is, in my Colorado opinion, justified.

Larry Walker is headed to Cooperstown? Fina-freaking-ly. Who doped the Baseball Writers of America? Don’t they know he’s a Rockie?

And the Broncos. Don’t get me started. For being a staple of the NFL from – basically – 1977 to present, they practically have zero representation in Canton. For years, “we” have been getting hosed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As happy as I was that he got in, it way too long for Pat Bowlen to get in (and, sadly, the timing was for all the wrong reasons).

The list of Broncos that should be in (starting with Randy Gradishar, who got snubbed once again this year) is long. And it’s really not griping about at the moment, as there’s an opportunity at hand.

Steve Atwater is close. So close. He’s a finalist that most people, even outside of Denver, believe should get in. Or so we’re told.

Peter King, a voter, says Atwater should be in. There’s one vote.

John Clayton says there’s “momentum building.” That’s swell. Can we count on your vote, John?

Primetime calls him “a dog.”

The Playmaker says he’s a beast.

Could there be four more credible voices? I think not.

Even Patrick Smyth, the Broncos venerable and highly objective media man, believes that Atwater should be in. It’s logical that Smyth would think this, some might even assume he’s biased, but if there’s one thing that he knows, it’s facts. And when it comes to Atwater, that’s all he really needs.

To point, @psmyth12 tweets: “63-of-66 position players on the NFL All-Decade first teams from the 1970s-1990s are currently in the @ProFootballHOF. The others? S @SteveAtwater27
(3x finalist, ’90s), WR Drew Pearson (Centennial Slate finalist, ’70s) and S LeRoy Butler (1st-yr. finalist, ’90s).

Pearson was already told no (much to his displeasure).

Butler was a great player – no doubt – but the better player, especially, in Super Bowl XXXII was Atwater.

Butler was a Packer, anyway. Canton is to former Packers what Scottsdale is to former, well, people with jobs. There are currently 30 Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Broncos?
Eleven (seven if you don’t count Brian Dawkins, Tony Dorsett, Ty Law, and Willie Brown). Gary Zimmerman was a great Bronco, but he also played seven years in Minnesota and only five in Denver.

Speaking of Vikings…the Purple People have 21 in the Hall. There are also three more Vince Lombardi Trophies in Denver than there are within 100 miles of the Mall of Americas. The Broncos have been to eight Super Bowls, the Vikings have to four. I suppose when it’s cold up in the north, jackets are more useful than rings.

The Cowboys have 25 in. Pittsburgh boasts 28.

This year’s Super Bowl participants, the Chiefs and Niners, claim 23 and 27 respectively.

There’s no doubt the story of the NFL highlights those great franchises. But there’s no way the chapters on the ‘80s and ‘90s shouldn’t include the Broncos and the many characters that put Denver on the map.

The time for Atwater is now.

Actually, it’s long past now, but now will work.

Want to know what a Hall of Famer looks like?

He looks just like No. 27.

Who cares how many safeties are finalists this time around? Who cares if Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu is one of them? Sure, the Steelers safety should be in. He was great. But was he better than Atwater? Polamalu played in 15 playoff games and his teams won two Super Bowls. Atwater played in 14 postseason games and his teams won two Super Bowls (Atwater played in three; Polamalu played in two). Both players should be in. There’s no need to pick one over the other. To some extent we’re splitting (Troy Polamalu’s) hairs.

Steve Atwater is one of the best to ever play. Period.

If he doesn’t get in, Denver, it’s time to whine.