ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -** The Pat Bowlen statue and captioned material, all in bronze, is not only the perfect centerpiece for Ring of Fame Plaza, but is perfectly Pat Bowlen.
A number of years ago I was sitting in his office asking him what he would like, in particular, in his media guide bio. Typically, he said, "Nothing, it is fine just the way it is." But then we talked for some time, as per the routine, and along the way he said, "Jim, I want us to be number one in everything."
Not only did I have the lead to his bio, but he had uttered some of the words that define him and his organization.
I was honored to write the material for his tribute in the Ring of Fame Plaza and I included those defining words right under his name.
But I said those were some of the words that define him. Not all.
The other sentence he has said so many times is, "It's not about me."
Every single time anyone tries to praise him, to honor him, he says the same thing. "It's not about me."
And that is one of the reasons his ceremony was low-key, family-oriented and private.
Photos from the private unveiling of the new statue of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen
No big media show for Pat Bowlen. He does not want it that way, never has or will.
But what he does want is to win, and that brings us to the other part of the Pat Bowlen tribute weekend.
The Broncos won big over a terrific team that happens to also be the one which he had a great rivalry with in terms of a race to supremacy during the 1980s and 1990s.
A win is the best way to honor Mr. B, and his team did that against the San Francisco 49ers.
Among so many traits, one of the ones that I have loved—and shared—over the three-plus decades of his ownership, is that he keeps it simple.
Many times we shared a laugh at teams that had convoluted "mission statements," long enough that most employees didn't even know it.
Win with class. Win and represent the team with class in everything you do.
That is about all there is to it for Pat Bowlen and his organization.
And the simple ceremony and fabulous statue, done by Brian Hanlon, is all of that.
And by the way, when we suggested the possibility of Ring of Fame Plaza to Mr. B, it was only in October of 2012.
He authorized it immediately, and it opened exactly one year later with 24 bronze and steel pillars representing the Ring of Famers. The Plaza is centered around the magnificent sculpture of "Broncos," commissioned by the owner and created in Florence, Italy.
Now three more Ring of Famers have been added this year and it is so fitting that Mr. Bowlen is the centerpiece of it all, looking at "his guys" who comprise the Ring.
He may always say "It's not about me," but former National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue once commented that Pat was at the center—oftentimes the very head—of every committee that advanced the league forward, whether by television or by collective bargaining.
And is also the only owner in history to have 300 wins in his first 30 years of ownership.
Not about him, but all about him.
His statue is perfectly placed and the perfect tribute.
And, of course, as fitting Pat Bowlen's feelings toward our fans, it is open and available, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and free of charge at all times.
Every Bronco fan should take the time to make a visit.
It is always all about the Broncos and our fans.