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Thank you, Mr. B

The moment Pat Bowlen said “This one’s for John,” he proved it wasn’t about himself.

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It never was about Pat Bowlen.

From the day he bought the Denver Broncos in 1984 until he had to walk away from the franchise he loved due to Alzheimer’s in 2014, it was always about the Broncos. It was always about others.

Never was that more evident than on the grandest stage. With the world watching, Mr. B could have made it about himself. One has to wonder how many would have done so in that same situation. After all, it was his crowning achievement. His franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.

Instead, he made it about someone else with the words that came to define a man.

“This one’s for John!”

How rare.

How special.

In all of the ways Broncos Country, the NFL and football fans around the world will remember him, those four words will always ring the truest. Adam Malnati and I paid tribute to the Broncos owner on the MHR Radio Podcast (ApplePodcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher).

If that wasn’t enough, Bowlen did it again the next year.

This time he made it about the fans, “This one’s for you!”

When you hear former players, coaches and employees talk about Mr. B, one of the first words you hear is “family.” The Broncos were a family. When you worked for Bowlen, you were part of his. The same goes for the fans. He knew how vital Broncos Country was to his franchise, and that’s why they were included in any decision he made.

“What will the fans think?” was always a question he asked.

To make the second Super Bowl win about the fans was an incredible moment that demonstrated they were part of his family.

How rare.

How special.

There is a giant hole in the Broncos Country heart.

The range of emotions flood over you — grief, sadness, loss, “damn, just damn.” But then you remember the incredible ride. The ride Pat Bowlen took us all on. The way he welcomed us all into his family.

You remember what he did for the Broncos, Denver, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West and Broncos Country around the world.

Most of us never got the chance to meet Mr. B. Yet we mourn and ache for the loss of a family member. We also will never forget the incredible memories and the way he always put others first — memories that now produce both smiles and tear-stained cheeks.

Thank you, Mr. B.

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