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