The man responsible for taking the Denver Broncos from a good NFL team to the best franchise in the league will finally get the recognition he deserves in the Hall he created.
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen will be inducted into the Broncos Ring Of Fame this season, the team announced today.
Bowlen will officially be added to the Ring Of Fame during the Broncos' Week 8 Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers Nov. 1.
The Broncos have become one of the league's best franchises with Bowlen at the helm. They have won 61 percent of their games, making the playoffs 17 times, winning the AFC West 12 times, appearing in six Super Bowls, and coming away with two Lombardi trophies.
Bowlen's success doesn't end there. During his tenure, the Broncos have had the best home record of any team (181-67) as well as the NFL's best home attendance, selling out every home game since Bowlen took over as owner in 1984.
The Broncos were also recognized as "America's Team" by a Harris Poll last October, knocking off the Dallas Cowboys, which is no doubt because of Bowlen's legacy the last three decades building a team with talented but humble stars - exactly like Bowlen himself.
Current Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway has known Pat Bowlen for almost 30 years and believes he is "the most deserving of anyone ever elected to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame."
"I’ve had the privilege of working for Pat Bowlen for nearly 30 years, and he is the most deserving of anyone ever elected to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame," Elway said. "As one of his players for many years and now in my current role, Pat has given us every opportunity and every resource to put the best football team on the field and compete for championships. [...] In my opinion, Pat Bowlen is one of the greatest contributors in the history of professional football—not just the Denver Broncos. I congratulate Pat on his election to the Broncos Ring of Fame and look forward to the day he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
There is NOBODY more deserving to be in the Broncos Ring of Fame than Pat Bowlen. Congrats, Mr. B!!!— John Elway (@johnelway) May 13, 2015
Denver Broncos CEO Joe Ellis announced Bowlen's induction into the Broncos Ring Of Fame, calling Bowlen's tenure with the Broncos "iconic."
"Nobody is more deserving of this prestigious recognition than ‘Mr. B,’ whose contributions to the Broncos, this community and the National Football League are truly immeasurable. Pat Bowlen’s iconic, three-decade ownership of the Broncos includes an extraordinary winning tradition and a positive impact in our community."
In his press conference Wednesday, Ellis noted that while Bowlen has been a "hands-off" owner, he was always involved.
"He allowed us to be autonomous, but I'll tell you, he was always paying attention," Ellis said, adding that Bowlen liked to point out that he was at the office every single day. "And it's true. If he wasn't here, you were on the phone with him."
Ellis also pointed out that Bowlen was not only important to the Broncos but to the entire NFL.
"He was a key cog in the growth of the National Football League," Ellis said. "And the way he led as owner was with humility. He never wanted to be recognized for it, and in a business like this, that's rare."
While Bowlen wasn't necessarily one of the richest owners in the NFL, his team was always at the forefront in quality facilities and resources. During his tenure, the Broncos built a new stadium, added an indoor practice facility and just recently replaced the field at Mile High. Ellis noted that all those improvements stemmed from Bowlen's desire to give his team the best chance to win.
"He just had tremendous competitive fire," Ellis said, noting that when Bowlen was asked what to put in his Ring Of Fame bio, his response was "just put in there that I want to be the best at everything we do."
When you talk about contributors to pro football, for what Pat Bowlen has meant to this league & team, his next stop should be Canton, Ohio!— John Elway (@johnelway) May 13, 2015
As fans of this great team, we cannot express our feelings of gratitude for Pat Bowlen enough, nor can we express how beloved this man is to all of Broncos Country.
We cannot wait for the Broncos to win their next Super Bowl and see John Elway hoist the Lombardi Trophy and say "This one's for Pat!"
Thank you, Mr. Bowlen.