DENVER — An orange wave of fans will rush over Canton, Ohio this summer.
What was expected became official on Tuesday. The Broncos will face the Atlanta Falcons at 6 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1, kicking off the NFL's 100th season.
The Broncos anticipated receiving the bid following the induction of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey in February. One-time Falcons star Tony Gonzalez is also part of the Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined on Saturday. This marks the Broncos' fourth appearance, following games in 1976, 1991 and 2004.
"With Mr. Bowlen and Champ Bailey part of this year’s induction class, it’s an honor for the Broncos to play in the Hall of Fame Game. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of Broncos fans in Canton, and it’s also special for us to help kick off the NFL’s 100th season," said first-year Broncos coach Vic Fangio. "Football-wise, it gives our team an extra week of training camp and additional practices that we’ll use to our advantage.”
The Broncos will play five preseason games rather than the traditional four. Tuesday's honor means training camp will open a week earlier at the UCHealth Training Center, roughly on July 18. It might help a team looking to avoid its third consecutive losing season for the first time since 10-straight from 1963-72. The Broncos will also be employing their fifth quarterback since Peyton Manning retired as Joe Flacco takes over the offense.
For those interested, tickets for the game and enshrinement ceremony go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at profootballhof.com/tickets.