On this day back in 1984, Pat Bowlen purchased the Denver Broncos from Edgar Kaiser Jr., saving the franchise from possible bankruptcy. Two days later, he was introduced as the majority owner of the Denver Broncos and that announcement triggered a new era in franchise history. 27 years have elapsed and in that time his tenure of ownership is permanently ingrained as one of the most successful of any team in the history of the NFL. If the Broncos are the Soul of the city of Denver then Pat Bowlen, as caretaker of the Broncos, is the Heart. The Mile High City has gone from a sleepy little "Cow Town" to the home of one of the crown jewels of Sports Franchises. Whether measured by the amount of wins and championships, attendance, national television exposure or reputation, there are few parallels in the world of professional sports. Let's take a look at the effect Mr. Bowlen has had so far in his tenure as the CEO of the Denver Broncos NFL Franchise.
One of the first things he did as owner, was create the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in order to pay tribute to former players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise’s history. The inaugural class in 1984 included "The Franchise" Running Back Floyd Little (1967-1975), Defensive End Rich "Tombstone" Jackson (1967-1972), Wide Receiver Lionel Taylor (1960-1966) and Safety Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin (1960-1966). Today, the are 22 names on the Level 5 facade, with the most recent being Shannon Sharpe, who was honored in 2009.
That first year, after a 1-1 start, the Broncos launched an impressive 10-game winning streak establishing a new franchise record. They would go on to win the AFC West with a 13-3 record, as John Elway passed for 2,598 yards, Sammy Winder rushed for 1,153 yards and Steve Watson collected 1,170 receiving yards. However, the Broncos season would end in disappointment with a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High Stadium. Still, with that rapid success, the murmurs of bankruptcy dissipated and a new Era was born.
The Denver Broncos have been one of the NFL’s most successful teams for more than two decades and that is the result of the leadership of Pat Bowlen and the high standard that he sets for himself. Thirteen of the 14 best years in team history have come during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership. No AFC club has won more games than the Broncos. In fact, Denver’s 266 victories during that time rank second in the entire league. Their five Super Bowl appearances, including back-to-back Super Bowl wins during the 1997-98 seasons, represent the second-highest total in the NFL.
- 2 League Championships - 1997, 1998
- 5 AFC Championships - 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997, 1998
- 8 AFC West Division Championships - 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005
- 12 Playoff Appearances 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004
- The Broncos have the best home record 163-58 (.738) in pro football over the past 26 years.
- Denver was the only AFC franchise to make three Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s.
- The Broncos won an NFL-record seven postseason games in a two-year period (1997-1998).
- The Broncos had an NFL-record 46 wins over a three-year period (1996-1998), the most in football history.
- Their best regular season record was in 1998, when the Broncos were 14-2 and repeated as World Champions.
• Mr. Bowlen also ushered in a new era in Denver Broncos football history in 2001 when the state-of-the-art INVESCO Field at Mile High opened. Mr. Bowlen contributed more than $150 million to the construction of the new stadium.