The campaign to make Tedy Bruschi a Hall of Famer officially began December 28, 2009.
Burt Kinerk, then the president of the Southern Arizona chapter of the National Football Foundation, wrote an eight-paragraph letter to the College Football Hall of Fame nominating the former Arizona Wildcats defensive end for the sport's highest honor.
"As President of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, it is a tremendous honor to submit the name of Tedy Bruschi to the Honors Court for his inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame," Kinerk wrote in the first paragraph.
Three-plus years later, Bruschi is a Hall of Famer.
The two-time All-American was officially selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday morning at a news conference in New York City. He will be inducted Dec. 10 at the National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner in New York City.
"I never played college football with this as the goal," Bruschi said at the news conference. "My college football career was always about playing hard, doing the best you got and see how it went. … I never really had any long-term goals of being in this prestigious class.
"My philosophy was always, play your best, and hopefully it's better than the next guy."
Bruschi, 39, will become the fourth former Wildcat to enter the Hall of Fame. The others: linebacker Ricky Hunley, safety Chuck Cecil and nose tackle Rob Waldrop.
The former Wildcat earned his way into the Hall. He was a consensus All-American in 1994 and a unanimous selection in 1995. The leader of Arizona's famed "Desert Swarm" defense, Bruschi finished his college career with 52 career sacks, which tied for the NCAA record. He was named the 1995 Pac-10 defensive player of the year.
"This is a tremendous day," said Rick Gonzales, the current president of the Southern Arizona chapter of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. "You have to remember there have been less than 1,100 players that have been inducted.
"It's tougher to get into this Hall of Fame than any other."
Gonzales said that after Waldrop was selected in 2011, he figured Bruschi would have to wait until at least 2013 to get in because it's rare a school like Arizona gets back-to-back inductees.
So for the past year or so, Gonzales, along with the rest of the Southern Arizona chapter, crossed his fingers.
"I finally met Tedy in person last month when he was back in town for the Arizona alumni weekend after we had several phone conversations and email exchanges," Gonzales said. "He said, 'I'm holding my breath for May 7.' So I know he wanted in. It's a huge, huge honor.
"For Arizona to now have four players that have been inducted speaks very well of the university."
Bruschi was on hand in New York for Tuesday's announcement. There, he talked about his former coach Dick Tomey and what it meant to play with the Desert Swarm defense.
"Dick Tomey at the University of Arizona is probably like a father figure to me," Bruschi said. "I don't know who thought of 'Desert Swarm,' but the minute we found about it, we all looked at each other and said, 'That's pretty cool.' We all had a similar attitude on the 'Desert Swarm' defenses that I was a part of.
"We always fought to go out there and prove people wrong."
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk