We have heard much about Pat Bowlen's football excellence and leadership over his 30 years of running the Denver Broncos. What truly defines a great owner in the National Football League? It's hard to gauge contributions to the sport or league on a grand scale, so I wanted to dial back to what happens on the football field. If you ask me, 30 seasons is about as good of a data set as one could ask for.
Woody Paige wrote an excellent piece on Bowlen last week and I sort of accepted his challenge from a line in his post, "Compare that deed to other owners in every professional sport in every city." He was talking about the Broncos appearing in 16 playoffs during that 30-year span, but I went a bit further and looked at regular season wins, playoff wins, division titles, conference titles and Super Bowl victories.
What I found is an organization all of us Broncos fans should continue to be proud to be a part of. There are just three teams that have eclipsed the 300 win mark since 1984 and only one team has topped the Broncos in the Super Bowl appearance category. When fans or journalists talk about elite, well here it is in plain black and white.
|Total Wins||Division |
|San Francisco 49ers||295||24||319||14||5||4|
|New England Patriots||284||24||308||14||7||3|
|Green Bay Packers||271||17||288||10||3||2|
|New York Giants||267||19||286||8||5||4|
|New Orleans Saints||249||7||256||5||1||1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||242||3||245||5||0||0|
|San Diego Chargers||231||7||238||7||1||0|
|New York Jets||224||8||232||2||0||0|
|St. Louis Rams||210||9||219||4||2||1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||195||5||200||4||1||1|
I'm not going to lie. Looking over these stats made my chest well up with pride. I became a fan right around the mid-1980s, so it feels great knowing my team is every bit as good as I believed it to be all of these years. Pat Bowlen's legacy is here for all to see. He built an organization centered around winning, but more than that, he created a culture of respect from the top down. You can see it in both Joe Ellis and John Elway as they expressed their desires to continue that tradition of doing things the right way.
I cannot express my feelings of admiration and respect for Pat Bowlen enough, nor can express how beloved this man is to me and I am sure the rest of Broncos Country. The only way I know how is to keep cheering and being the dedicated fan I am. And nothing would bring me more delight than to see John Elway hoist a Lombardi Trophy and say, "This ones for Pat!"