Longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen passed away on Thursday night after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bowlen was 75. Many NFL teams have released statements of condolences to the Broncos and the Bowlen family, including the Raiders, who issued this statement this afternoon.
Bowlen initially purchased the Broncos along with his three siblings in 1984. Under Bowlen’s leadership, the Broncos became one of the best and most consistent teams in the AFC, and went to seven Super Bowls during his tenure as owner with a 3-4 record. Bowlen had as many Super Bowl appearances during this stretch as he did losing records. Under Bowlen, the Broncos went 334-212-1, for a .612 winning percentage, a mark which has only recently been surpassed by the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft.
However, Bowlen had exhibited signs of memory loss as early as 2009, and stepped away from day-to-day operations of the team in 2010. He ceded control to Executive VP John Elway and team president Joe Ellis. Bowlen was inexplicably not inducted into the Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but will posthumously be inducted in the 2019 class in just a matter of months.
Pat Bowlen leaves a legacy of success and excellence behind him. He will be remembered as one of the great owners in NFL history. Every year he predicted the Broncos would win the Super Bowl, and they made it there 20% of the time in Bowlen’s 35 years as owner. He was the first owner with 300 wins over his first 30 years with the team, and the Broncos had over 90 wins in each full decade he owned the team.
So godspeed, Mr. Bowlen, and say hello to Mr. Davis for us.