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Pat Bowlen
Owner

Pat Bowlen enters his 31st year as Owner of the Denver Broncos in 2014, and his tenure of ownership is indelibly stamped as one of the most successful periods for any team in National Football League history.

The longest-tenured owner of a professional sports team in Colorado history and the only owner in NFL history to achieve 300 overall victories during his first 30 seasons, Mr. Bowlen presides over a franchise that is one of the crown jewels among NFL clubs. By any definition, the Broncos are at the pinnacle of professional sports franchises.

Pat Bowlen enters his 31st year as Owner of the Denver Broncos in 2014, and his tenure of ownership is indelibly stamped as one of the most successful periods for any team in National Football League history.

The longest-tenured owner of a professional sports team in Colorado history and the only owner in NFL history to achieve 300 overall victories during his first 30 seasons, Mr. Bowlen presides over a franchise that is one of the crown jewels among NFL clubs. By any definition, the Broncos are at the pinnacle of professional sports franchises.

The Denver Broncos are the soul of the city, Mr. Bowlen serves as the owner and steward of this sterling franchise, and the legend of both team and owner are marked by achievement and success at every level. Whether judged by the measure of wins and championships, attendance, national television exposure, or by his and the Broncos’ reputation locally and throughout the NFL, there are few parallels in the world of professional sports.

The Broncos have grown from being Denver’s first major league franchise in 1960 to Colorado’s state religion, and Mr. Bowlen’s culture of winning and integrity has permeated the Rocky Mountain region.

Three consecutive AFC West Division titles (2011-13) for the first time in team history and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII have invigorated an organization where the standard is to be the best. The team continues to aggressively pursue a third World Championship to add to its winning tradition, and Mr. Bowlen’s commitment to that goal is unwavering.

His status and reputation as an owner were recognized within the state in 2007 when Mr. Bowlen was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Most recently, he received the 2013 Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award, the region’s most prestigious philanthropic accolade, for his community leadership and unwavering commitment to the city of Denver and state of Colorado.

Mr. Bowlen has fashioned a powerful reputation among his peers as a bold, dynamic leader who is single-minded in his pursuit of excellence, whether representing the Broncos, the city of Denver, the state of Colorado or the National Football League. He presides over a franchise that by any standard has been one of the NFL’s most successful in his three decades of club ownership (1984-present).

Mr. Bowlen’s six Super Bowl appearances, including back-to-back World Championships following the 1997-98 seasons, are tied for the most by an owner in NFL history. Denver’s 11 division titles since 1984 are more than all but three NFL clubs, and its 25 seasons with a .500 or better record during that span are easily the most in the league.    

Denver is the only team to post at least 90 wins in each of the last three decades, and the franchise’s 307 overall victories under Mr. Bowlen (1984-pres.) rank third in the NFL (2nd in the AFC) during that span.

In addition, Denver’s 302 national television appearances under Mr. Bowlen are the most in the league. That total includes a league-high 171 prime-time games as well as 127 appearances as part of network doubleheaders.

For many years, Mr. Bowlen’s reputation as an outstanding owner has been well known nationally as he is held in the highest regard by fans, players, coaches, his peers and NFL executives. In 1987, he finished second in The Sporting News Executive of the Year balloting. In December 2000, ESPN conducted a fan poll asking which NFL owner would be the best for which to play. Mr. Bowlen finished first among all NFL owners with 44.7 percent of the more than 60,000 votes cast.

Pat Bowlen was introduced as the majority owner of the Denver Broncos on March 23, 1984, and that announcement triggered a new era in franchise history. Mr. Bowlen and the Bowlen family acquired 100 percent ownership of the Broncos in July 1985, and currently his brother John Bowlen owns a minority interest in the Broncos.

Mr. Bowlen immediately put his own mark on the Broncos, establishing a solid administration and creating a positive atmosphere that was a major factor in the team’s success both on and off the field.

Champions are built from the top, and Pat Bowlen is a model of leadership in the scope of his drive and commitment. “I want us to be number one in everything,” Mr. Bowlen has often said in a recurring theme that marks his management style. Everyone knows that it is the owner who provides the financial backing that is integral to a championship team, but many fans are unaware that much of the heart, soul and drive of this championship organization come directly from Pat Bowlen.

He has made all of his managerial moves with one goal in mind—to aggressively position the Denver Broncos for another Super Bowl championship. No one sets higher standards for the Broncos than Pat Bowlen himself, whose goals have always been to have his franchise regarded among the finest in pro sports with victory being the measuring stick for that success.

Thus, the ultimate goal of this dynamic and energetic owner remains firmly set on repeating the World Championship seasons of 1997 and 1998.

Below is a summary of the Denver Broncos’ success during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership (1984-2013):

  • The Denver Broncos won back-to-back World Championships in 1997 (Super Bowl XXXII vs. the Green Bay Packers 31-24) and 1998 (Super Bowl XXXIII vs. the Atlanta Falcons 34-19).
  • Denver became the sixth NFL franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls, joining Green Bay, Miami, Pittsburgh (twice), San Francisco and Dallas. The Broncos became the first AFC team to do it in two decades.
  • When the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII, they were the first AFC team to win in 14 years and just the second wild card team to win a Super Bowl under the NFL’s present playoff system.
  • The Broncos own AFC Championships under Pat Bowlen in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997, 1998 and 2013.
  • Denver was the only AFC franchise to make three Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s.
  • Denver ranks first in the NFL in second in the NFL in regular-season wins (289), third in overall wins (307), second in Super Bowl appearances (6), fourth in conference championship game appearances (8) and tied for third in playoff appearances (16).
  • The Broncos have dominated the AFC Western Division by posting more division titles (11), conference championship game appearances (8) and Super Bowl appearances (6) than any other club in the division.
  • In addition to winning 11 division titles, Mr. Bowlen’s franchise has had regular-season win totals of 14, 13 (five times), 12 (twice), 11 (four times) and 10 (three times). Fifteen of the 16 best years in team history have come during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership.
  • The Broncos won an NFL-record seven postseason games in a two-year period (1997-1998).
  • The Broncos had 33 wins over a two-year period (1997-1998), at that time the most in NFL history.
  • The Broncos had an NFL-record 46 wins over a three-year period (1996-1998).
  • The Broncos became the second team in modern NFL history to go undefeated during regular-season play at home for three consecutive seasons (1996-1998).
  • His 1997-1998 teams performed the astonishing feat of going nearly an entire calendar year without a defeat (12/15/97-12/13/98), at that time a league-record 18 consecutive wins.
  • In 1998, Denver won a franchise-record 17 games (14 in the regular season), including a 13-0 start that resulted in Denver going nearly an entire calendar year without a loss.
  • The Broncos have the best home record (186-71 / .724) in pro football over the past 30 years.
  • The Broncos have had an NFL-low five losing seasons compared to their 18 winning seasons.
  • In Mr. Bowlen’s 30 years of ownership, the Broncos have played 32 postseason games, all of which have been sold out.
  • The Broncos have sold out every game during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership for a streak of 257 consecutive games (regular season and postseason) that is the third-longest active streak in the league.
  • Denver has led the NFL in attendance during Mr. Bowlen’s 30-year period as owner. The Broncos have drawn nearly 20 million fans to their home games from 1984-2013, marking the highest total in the NFL.
  • Mr. Bowlen ushered in a new era in Denver Broncos football history in 2001 when the state-of-the-art Sports Authority Field at Mile High opened. Mr. Bowlen contributed more than $150 million to the construction of the new stadium and helped fund a $30 million upgrade during the 2013 offseason.
  • He was responsible for the Broncos’ headquarters, the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Centre, a more than 100,000 square foot modern office and training facility located on the team’s 13.5 acre complex in Dove Valley, Arapahoe County. The facility is named after Pat Bowlen’s father, and the Broncos moved into the building on March 5, 1990. This past offseason, the facility underwent $38 million in renovations and construction, including the addition of a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility.
  • Mr. Bowlen has worked closely with the Broncos’ personnel department in maintaining the club’s roster in the era of free agency that has resulted in unprecedented player stability.
  • In addition to his role with the Broncos, Mr. Bowlen was a key figure in securing the league’s labor and TV contracts. He served as co-chair of the powerful NFL Management Council Executive Committee from 2001-11 and formerly chaired the prestigious NFL Broadcasting Committee. He also has served on the NFL Compensation Committee, the NFL Network Committee, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee and Los Angeles Working Group Committee.
  • In his role as Chair of the NFL Broadcast Committee, Mr. Bowlen was responsible for the negotiations on the NFL’s $18 billion TV contract, the most lucrative single-sport contract in history.

Pat Bowlen was born in Praire du Chien, Wis., where he attended high school. He went on to the University of Oklahoma, earning degrees in both business (1965) and law (1968). After successful careers in oil, gas and real estate, he purchased the Denver Broncos in 1984.

He is chairman of the board of Denver Broncos Charities and in that capacity has donated more than $25 million to charitable organizations in the Denver area since the inception of that fund in 1993. Mr. Bowlen also served as the Honorary Chairman of the Colorado Special Olympics for 19 years and was the organization’s Outstanding Celebrity in 1993.

In addition, Mr. Bowlen has served as the Honorary Chairman of the Stadium Stampede (formerly the Colorado Family Classic) to benefit St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation for 30 years, and this is his 20th year as Honorary Chairman of the Capuchin Friars Brown Robe Benefit fundraising dinner. He also chaired the 1989 Centennial Scholarship rally at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and was Co-Chairman of the Rose Medical Center Critical Care Campaign from 1986-89.

Mr. Bowlen was elected to the University of Denver Board of Trustees in 1987 and the Colorado Academy Board of Trustees in 1991. His previous DU committee memberships also included the Athletic Affairs Committee, the Institutional Advancement Committee and the Institutional Advancement/University Relations subcommittee.

A former member of the Young President’s Organization, Mr. Bowlen was a member of the American Ireland Fund Dinner Committee for 22 years and Trustee for the Irish Community Center for 11 years.

Mr. Bowlen maintains an active lifestyle and exercises extensively as part of his daily regimen. He has competed in the Ironman Triathlon—an event in which one must swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles on a bicycle and run 26.2 miles, all consecutively—as well as in other triathlon races and several marathons.