For anyone who has had a family member or friend be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they know that it is one of the most horrific diseases on the planet. To watch someone deteriorate mentally and lose who they are is difficult to watch. Pat Bowlen, the 70-year-old owner of the Denver Broncos, has been faced with a very sad decision, one of which could not have been easy to make. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s has given him no choice but to give up his power as an owner of the team as he fights the disease.
“This is a sad day for the NFL,” commissioner Roger Goodell said, according to The Denver Post. “Pat Bowlen’s leadership has been critical to the success of the Broncos and the entire NFL. From building a championship team that is a pillar of the community to his important work for the league on television and labor matters, Pat’s love of the game drove him and we have all benefited from his passion and wisdom. But the time has come for Pat to focus on his health and we fully support him. Joe Ellis has been a trusted executive for Pat for many years after working with us at the league office. Joe’s deep experience ensures that the Broncos will continue to have strong leadership.”
Broncos president Joe Ellis will take over for Bowlen, who is one of the most significant figures in the Denver community. In his 30 years as owner of the team, the Broncos have seen a tremendous amount of success. That includes 16 playoff appearances, 11 division championships, six Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl titles.
Along with the Broncos, Bowlen also is the owner of the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush. After joining the AFL in 2003, it took the Crush only three seasons to win its first championship in 2005. The Crush won a second consecutive division championship the following year. Bowlen also is the owner of the Denver Outlaws, a Major League Lacrosse team. Since the team’s existence in 2006, the Outlaws have never missed the playoffs. They also have been to three championship games, but they have yet to win one.
Bowlen will have the support of his wife, Annabel, and seven children as he continues to battle a disease that he’s had for the past few years.