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Pat Bowlen

Pat Bowlen enters his 34th season as Owner of the Denver Broncos in 2017, 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 has guided the franchise to an unprecedented run of success during his three-plus decades in Denver.

Pat Bowlen enters his 34th season as Owner of the Denver Broncos in 2017, 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 has guided the franchise to an unprecedented run of success during his three-plus decades in Denver.

His outstanding contributions to the Broncos, the NFL and the community have established him as one of the greatest and most influential contributors in professional football history. 

Elected to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 2015, Mr. Bowlen presides over a franchise that is one of the crown jewels among NFL clubs. With more Super Bowl appearances (7) than losing seasons (5) during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership, the Broncos are, by any definition, at the pinnacle of professional sports franchises.

Owning the highest regular-season winning percentage of any NFL team (.612 / 322-204-1)—and the second-highest win percentage in all of American professional sports—under Pat Bowlen, the Broncos in that span have achieved 21 winning seasons, 13 division titles, nine conference championship berths and seven Super Bowl appearances. The club’s success during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership is highlighted by three Super Bowl wins—back-to-back World Championships from 1997-98 and a victory in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.   

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’ status was recognized nationally in a 2014 Harris poll that named the franchise “America’s Team.”

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. The Broncos have grown from being Denver’s first major league franchise in 1960 to Colorado’s state religion.

A member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Mr. Bowlen’s championship mentality includes an extraordinary commitment to the community. As chairman of the board of Denver Broncos Charities, he has donated nearly $30 million to charitable organizations in the Denver area since the inception of that fund in 1993.

His status and reputation as an owner were recognized locally in 2013 when he received the Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award, the region’s most prestigious philanthropic accolade, for his community leadership and commitment to the city of Denver and state of Colorado. In 2017, a youth development park in Commerce City was dedicated as “Pat Bowlen Field” in recognition of Mr. Bowlen’s tremendous contributions to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, including the 14-year funding of the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club.

Mr. Bowlen’s culture of winning and integrity has permeated the Rocky Mountain region. Winners of five of the last six AFC West Division titles, the Broncos operate with a relentless approach to be the best at everything. He has positioned the franchise to pursue its fourth World Championship to add to its winning tradition, and Mr. Bowlen’s commitment to that goal is unwavering.

The Broncos’ owner 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 seven Super Bowl appearances are the second most among pro football owners. Denver’s 13 division titles since 1984 rank fourth among NFL clubs, and its 28 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 343 overall victories under Mr. Bowlen (1984-pres.) are the second most in the NFL during that span. 

In addition, Denver’s 337 national television appearances under Mr. Bowlen are the most in the league. That total includes a league-high 155 prime-time games as well as 142 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. 

In addition to his unmistakable impact with the Denver Broncos, Mr. Bowlen has had a profound influence on the growth of the NFL. He has served on nine league committees during his ownership, helping negotiate record-breaking television contracts and ensuring years of labor peace with several extensions to the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

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, 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 iconic owner remains firmly set on repeating the Broncos’ World Championship seasons of 1997, 1998 and 2015. 


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

  • The Denver Broncos won three Super Bowls—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) as well as in 2015 (Super Bowl 50 vs. the Carolina Panthers, 24-10).
  • 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 seven AFC Championships under Pat Bowlen (1986, 1987, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2013, 2015). 
  • Denver was the only AFC franchise to make three Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s.
  • Denver owns the most regular-season wins (322), winning seasons (21), playoff berths (18) while ranking second in overall wins (343) and Super Bowl appearances (7).
  • The Broncos have dominated the AFC Western Division by posting more division titles (13), conference championship game appearances (9) and Super Bowl appearances (7) than any other club in the division.
  • In addition to winning 13 division titles, Mr. Bowlen’s franchise has had regular-season win totals of 14, 13 (five times), 12 (four times), 11 (four times) and 10 (three times). Seventeen of Denver’s 21 seasons with double-digit win totals 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. 
  • His 2015 team won an NFL-record 11 games decides by a touchdown or less en route to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
  • The Broncos have the best home record (207-77 / .729) in pro football over the past 33 years.
  • The Broncos have had an NFL-low five losing seasons compared to their 21 winning seasons.
  • In Mr. Bowlen’s 33 years of ownership, the Broncos have played 36 postseason games, all of which have been sold out. 
  • The Broncos have sold out every regular season and playoff contest during Mr. Bowlen’s ownership as part of the team’s NFL-record 387-game sellout streak dating back to 1970.
  • Denver has led the NFL in attendance during Mr. Bowlen’s 33-year period as owner. The Broncos have drawn nearly 20 million fans to their home games from 1984-2016, 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 UCHealth Training Center, a state-of-the-art office and training facility located on the team’s 13.5-acre complex in South Arapahoe County. The main facility, the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre, is named after Pat Bowlen’s father, and the Broncos moved into the building on March 5, 1990. In 2014, the facility underwent $38 million in renovations and construction, including the addition of a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility, the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse. 
  • 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 served on the NFL Compensation Committee, the NFL Network Committee, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee, the NFL Business Ventures Committee, the NFL Finance Committee, the Los Angeles Working Group Committee and the NFL Workplace Diversity 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. 

Mr. Bowlen 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. 

He was Honorary Chairman of the Capuchin Friars Brown Robe Benefit fundraising dinner for 20 years. Mr. Bowlen 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 has maintained an active lifestyle throughout his life, including competing 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.