John Elway and Pat Bowlen were among the most iconic QB-owner pairings in NFL history.
Bowlen, together with his sisters, purchased the Broncos franchise in 1984 — a year later Denver forced the league-altering trade with all the then-Baltimore Colts to acquire Elway. Both then proceeded to combine for five Super Bowl appearances and 2 championships during Elway’s Hall of Fame career on the field, and then added an addition Super Bowl title in 2015 when Elway oversaw the team as an exec.
Bowlen died Thursday at age 75 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, three years after that previous name, and three years later Elway dedicated the win to his longtime friend and mentor by declaring”This one’s for Pat!”
Elway paid his respects.
“Pat gave me and he was someone I always looked up to,” Elway said in a statement Friday morning. “He gave this team what we had to be the best and compete for championships, and also the attention was always on soccer. That’s all you can ask for in an proprietor — yet he did more. He was a tremendous mentor and a tremendous friend. Pat was a fantastic listener, always asking what was happening, and I learned so much from watching him. He had been a leader. Whether things were going right or things weren’t going right, he would always let you know what we had to get better.
“He did a fantastic job of applying pressure at the appropriate times but always trusted his football people to make the right decisions. Other than his loved ones, nothing meant more to Pat than making sure that the Denver Broncos were successful. What he did for this group, this city and the whole NFL will never be matched. His shoes will never be filled.
“I will miss Pat greatly and will always treasure the times we had together. We are going to continue to take care of his group as if he had been here now. My deepest sympathies are with Annabel and the total Bowlen family.”
Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the 2019 course this August in Canton, Ohio.
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