CANTON, Ohio — Days before Pat Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Bowlen family toured the Hall of Fame museum where Bowlen’s bronze bust will soon reside.
The Bowlen family joined more than 100 members of the Broncos’ organization — including the team, coaching staff and several members of the front office — on a tour Wednesday evening of the Hall of Fame.
“I think this is a great way to kick off the weekend, especially doing it with our family,” his daughter Annabel Bowlen said. “We get to learn about the history of the game and what it meant to not only my dad but to the people who make up the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s a good way to come in together and see what’s going on and why it’s so important to so many people.”
Annabel previously toured the Hall of Fame with Champ Bailey and the rest of the Class of 2019 as she represented her father following his February election.
On Wednesday, the family saw a locker that was set up with many of Bowlen’s possessions, including his commemorative leather jackets, personal photos and game balls from his Super Bowl victories.
“I didn’t expect to see all the stuff from the Ironman in there, but that’s one of the important things about him: the athletic abilities that he had,” his son Patrick Bowlen Jr. said. “I’m just super excited to be here. This is all so cool — not only my dad’s locker, but everything else, as well. I learned so much that I didn’t know about pro football.”
The family also saw the room where his bronze bust will be placed alongside those of other Hall of Famers.
“He would want more of his players here, as you know,” his daughter Amie Klemmer said. “He wouldn’t want to have such a big deal made out of himself, but I think it’s very appropriate. And it’s going to be like the last chapter in a sense, and he’ll be forever enshrined.”
For his children, one of the more gratifying parts of Bowlen’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame is that football fans — both current and future — will be able to learn about their father’s lasting impact on the game.
“It’s really neat to know that people will get to understand who he was as a person and his impact on football,” Brittany said. “He cared for the game so much and he cared for the Denver community, and he cared for people and wanted them to be their best. He gave people the resources to do that. So for the people that get to come here and learn about his story, I feel like that will be really impactful for our family.”
His daughter Beth Bowlen Wallace agreed.
"I’m really pleased for the fans that they are going to be able to come through here in the future to know what kind of man that my father was and what kind of leader he was in the NFL and really who he was as an owner," Bowlen Wallace said. "It’s a rewarding experience to think that his legacy is going to be preserved forever and ever through this Hall of Fame."
The tour on Wednesday was just the start of a weekend-long celebration of Bowlen and his accomplishments. To the family, though, it felt like the perfect start.
“It’s amazing to see my dad around all these fellow legends,” his daughter Christianna said. “I appreciate everyone for being here from the Broncos organization, and it’s good to experience this after my dad has passed, because it’s like I get to see him again in another way.
“It’s a really cool way to start off the week and to realize what my dad’s about to achieve.”