Broncos owner Pat Bowlen on the cusp of NFL owner history

Doug Pensinger

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen isn't usually mentioned as one of the great owners in the NFL by the mainstream media.

He should be.

Consider the chart below, excerpted from footballgeography.com, and see how it illustrates just how successful and just how relatively young Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is when compared to the NFL's owner elite. And because Pat Bowlen very much belongs in that prestigious club.

With 292 wins as owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen is already among the Top 10 owners in wins, all-time.That number puts him sixth in AFL/AFC history as well.

Franchise From To Seasons Leader W L T W Pct. League Championships
Bears 1921 1983 63 seasons George Halas 463 318 40 0.588 8 (1921, '32-33, '40-41, '43, '46, '63)
Raiders 1966 2011 46 seasons Al Davis 413 314 8 0.567 4 (AFL 1967, NFL '76, '80, '83)
Titans 1960 2012 53 seasons Bud Adams 406 425 6 0.489 2 (AFL 1960-61)
Bills 1960 2012 53 seasons Ralph Wilson 384 440 8 0.466 2 (AFL 1964-65)
Chiefs 1960 2006 47 seasons Lamar Hunt 381 332 12 0.534 3 (AFL 1962, '66, Super Bowl '69)
Steelers 1933 1987 55 seasons Art Rooney 334 362 19 0.467 4 (1974-75, '78-79)
Cardinals 1962 2012 51 seasons Bill Bidwill 328 446 13 0.425
Lions 1961 2012 52 seasons William Clay Ford 328 458 15 0.419
Giants 1965 2005 41 seasons Wellington Mara 297 332 4 0.472 2 (1986, '90)
Broncos 1984 2012 29 seasons Pat Bowlen 292 199 1 0.595 2 (1997-98)

Now, consider:

  • Bowlen is the only owner in the Top 10 with a tenure of under 30 seasons.
  • In fact, he is the only owner in the Top 10 with less than 40 seasons with his club.
  • Bowlen's win percentage (.595) is the highest in the Top 10.
  • Bowlen is six Broncos wins away from moving into the Top 9.
  • Bowlen will very likely cross the 300-win mark in 2013, which will make him the ninth owner to do so.
  • Based on the tenures of other owners with over 300 wins, Bowlen will be one of the fastest owners to reach 300 wins, if not the fastest.

I considered Bowlen underrated, but even I was undervaluing Denver's owner of 29 seasons, not knowing he was among the ten winningest owners all time. Between this, recognition for his philanthropy, and the prospect of winning a third Super Bowl in franchise history, 2013 promises to be a big year for Pat Bowlen.

A big year among decades of good ones.

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