In 1984 I was in Mr. Smith’s 4th grade class, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to perform a space walk, and Pat Bowlen bought the Denver Broncos for a meager $78 million (Franchise worth today: $2.6 billion).
While many may not include Mr. Bowlen’s purchase of the Broncos as a commemorable event that took place in 1984, Denver Bronco fans would argue, that this was the year the Denver Broncos organization would forever be changed. Just one year before the Denver Broncos were purchased by Mr. Bowlen. John Elway was drafted by the Baltimore Colts as the first overall pick, and was later traded to the Broncos, another move that would forever change the organization.
It were as if fate had brought Mr. Bowlen and Mr. Elway together.
Since 1984 Mr. Bowlen became one of the most winningest owner’s in the league with 333 wins and 225 losses (67 percent winning record) over his 35 years as owner, not to mention seven Super Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl wins, seven AFC West Championships and he will also be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame later this year. Bowlen and the Broncos held the record for a franchise with the highest winning percentage in addition to being the first owner to reach 300 wins by his 30 season.
Mr. Bowlen has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and stepped out of the spotlight in 2009 due to early onset stages of the disease. Mr. Bowlen’s life became fairly private after 2009 and his wife Annabelle Bowlen was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in mid 2018.
Former and current players along with many athletes across all sports took to social media Friday morning to express their condolences. Former running back Terrell Davis, and Super Bowl XXXII MVP, captured a shot of him, Mr. Bowlen and John Elways holding the Lombardi trophy after their first Super Bowl win with the caption, “The world has lost a great man and legend. My heart and prayers goes [sic] out to the Bowlen family. Mr. B, I will never forget the impact you had on my life. I can’t thank you enough. Rest in Peace.”
While Mr. Bowlen will be greatly missed, he has left a legacy that will forever be seared into the hearts of Broncos Country.