In Pat We Trust - Bowlen Era has earned our trust, patience

In talking with Broncos fans I have found that much of their displeasure with the event sof this off-season is directed at the Owner of the Broncos, Pat Bowlen.  It is Bowlen, of course, that decided to replace Mike Shanahan, it was Bowlen that hired Josh McDaniels, an offensive coordinator, when it seemed that the defense needed fixing.  It was Bowlen that replaced the Goodman's, a father and son team that had earlier been told their jobs were safe.  It was of course Bowlen that decided enough was enough during the Jay Cutler fiasco and decided the time had come to trade him.  That is a lot for any owner during an entire career, for Bowlen it spanned under 4 months.

Many people are angry with Bowlen.  I've been told that he is becoming too involved with the football side of things.  I've been told that he's becoming cheap and has no desire to spend money, in relative terms of course.  Losing season's have a tendency to do that, and in our culture there always has to be someone to blame.

It got me thinking a bit, thinking of just the type of owner the Broncos have.  I consider Mr. B one of the greatest owners in all of sports.  Perhaps its because in Cleveland I have seen some of the best - Dan Gilbert of the Cavs - and worst - Art Modell.  As I began to look at the Broncos history under Bowlen I began to realize one thing - The Broncos have been the best franchise in the AFC West during the past 25 years, largely because of the decisions Bowlen has made.

2009 marks the 25th season of Pat Bowlen's tenure as Broncos owner - half of the team's existence.  Let's look at what this team has accomplished under his watch, with help from the team's Media Guide -

Milehighreport_small_mediumIn 1984, the Broncos introduced the Inaugural Class of their Ring of Fame, inducting 4 Broncos greats - Goose Gonsoulin, Floyd Little, Rich Jackson and Lionel Taylor.

Milehighreport_small_mediumThe Broncos have the best Home Record (149-51 .745) in the NFL during the past 25 years

Milehighreport_small_mediumDenver is 2nd in the NFL is wins(243), 2nd in Super Bowl appearances(5), 3rd in AFC Championship Game appearances(7) and 3rd in playoff appearances(13)

Milehighreport_small_medium13 of the team's 14 best years in franchise history have come during the last 25 years.

Milehighreport_small_mediumBowlen has continued a string of 40 consecutive years of home game sell-outs, the longest such streak in the AFC.  The 316 consecutive regular season and playoffs games is second to only the Washington Redskins

Milehighreport_small_mediumThe Broncos have led the NFL in attendance over the past 25 years drawing nearly 18 million fans.

Milehighreport_small_mediumBowlen has been a key figure in securing the League's labor and TV contracts.  In his role as Chair of the NFL Broadcast Committee, he wass responsible for the negotiations on the NFL's $18 billion TV contract, the most lucrative single-sport contract in history.

Of course, with Al Davis to the west and the Hunt Family to the east, Bowlen is surrounded by NFL Royalty in the division.  Needless to say, the Broncos have held their ground -

SINCE 1984

Super Bowl Titles

Denver          -- 2
Kansas City -- 0
Oakland        -- 0
San Diego    -- 0

Super Bowl Appearances

Denver           -- 5
Oakland         -- 1
San Diego     -- 1
Kansas City  -- 0

AFC Championship Appearances

Denver           -- 7
Oakland         -- 3
San Diego     -- 2
Kansas City  -- 1

AFC WEST Division Titles

Denver           -- 8
San Diego     -- 6
Oakland         -- 5
Kansas City  -- 4

Playoff Appearances

Denver           -- 13
Kansas City  -- 10
Oakland         -- 8
San Diego     -- 7

Winning Seasons

Denver           -- 16
Kansas City  -- 14
Oakland         -- 9
San Diego     -- 7

Does that mean the man hasn't made mistakes?  Of course not, but the track record suggests, with both the Broncos and the NFL, that Bowlen has a plan and knows exactly what he is doing.  I think the track record has earned him the right to make a decision and the time it takes to evaluate that decision before we judge him.  It's hard, sometimes, I know, but Pat Bowlen deserves that, from all of us.

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