Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen was honored by the Mizel Institute with the Community Enrichment Award on Wednesday night for his philanthropic activities. There’s no doubt that Bowlen has been great for the Colorado community, but he is also one of the best owners in all of sports.
Bowlen is entering his 30th year as the Broncos owner and his record during that time is matched only by a few others. His teams have won five AFC Championships, two World Championships and have averaged 10 wins a season.
It wasn’t always smooth for Bowlen and the City of Denver; there were some difficult times in the beginning. Bowlen was seen as an outsider by many, and it didn’t help when he showed his inexperience in public speaking. Those incidents were quickly forgotten when people realized that Bowlen’s only goal for the Broncos was winning football games.
Bowlen is not Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder in terms of his public persona, but no one wants to win championships more than the Broncos owner. Every dollar Bowlen makes from the Broncos goes right back into the team in an effort to make them better.
The Broncos have had only one goal under Bowlen’s leadership, win the Super Bowl. When everyone else was going nuts over the fact that the Tim Tebow led Broncos won a playoff game, Bowlen was happy but was not even close to being satisfied. He called that season, “Good, not great.” Bowlen’s only symbol of greatness is the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In recent years, Bowlen’s health has gradually gotten worse and he has taken a much lower public profile in those years. John Elway was hired as the Vice-President of Football Operations for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is to give the organization a public face that the fans could trust again.
Bowlen, following the disaster of Josh McDaniels, needed someone who he trusted and someone who cared about the Broncos as much as he did. He knew there was only one person who fit those requirements, and Elway was brought back into the organization in January of 2011. There might not be an owner and a player who have ever been closer than Bowlen and Elway.
Now with the help of Elway, Bowlen has the Broncos back where they’ve been for a majority of his time as owner, contending for championships. There are owners with more money and there are owners who enjoy the spotlight more, but there is not a single owner who wants to win more than Bowlen.
People talk about some of the past Broncos’ greats that should be in the Hall of Fame, and there are many. It is time, however, for Bowlen to take his spot among the game’s best. His record speaks for itself and his dedication to a city and a fan base is unmatched. Bowlen deserves a spot in Canton, Ohio.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years, but if you’re a Broncos’ fan and you get the opportunity to thank Mr. Pat Bowlen, then you should jump at the chance because he wants to win as bad as you do. As a fan, that’s all you can ask for from any owner.
Thank you Mr. Bowlen!
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