The Denver Broncos announced early Friday that Hall of Fame owner Pat Bowlen has died.
He was 75.
"We are saddened to inform everyone that our beloved husband and father, Pat Bowlen, passed on to the next chapter of his life late Thursday night peacefully at home surrounded by family," a statement from Bowlen's family reads. "His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans."
Bowlen bought the Broncos in 1984 and led an era that saw the team become one of the NFL’s flagship franchises. He acted as the team’s CEO until 2014, when he relinquished those duties due to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
7 Super Bowls, 3 wins under Bowlen
The Broncos made seven Super Bowls and won three under his leadership. Between 1986 and 1998, the Broncos played in five Super Bowls with John Elway at quarterback, winning in 1997 and 1998.
The arrival of Peyton Manning in 2012 and development of one of the league’s elite defensive units ushered in a new Super Bowl era. The Broncos won the AFC championship in 2013 and 2015, with the latter team securing the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy under Bowlen.
He became the first NFL owner to see his team win 300 total games in his first 30 years of ownership. The Broncos sold out all 300 home games under Bowlen’s ownership.
Bowlen was a member of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee from 2001-2011. He worked on the league’s negotiations with the players’ union and broadcast partners.
Bowlen elected to Hall of Fame this year
Bowlen was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2019 class. He was the 16th owner to be invited to the Hall of Fame. He will be inducted posthumously in August.
He is survived by his wife Annabel, and his seven children Amie, Beth, Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna.
Beth, 48, and Brittany, 29, have expressed interest in taking over ownership of the team, according to the Denver Post.
“Our family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received in recent years. Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight.
“Pat Bowlen had a competitive spirit with a great sense of humor,” the family’s statement read. “As fun-loving as he was, he always wanted us to understand the big picture. We will forever remember his kindness and humility.”
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