There is some sad news coming out of Denver Wednesday as the Broncos announced that owner Pat Bowlen has given up control of the team to battle Alzheimer’s Disease.
Team president Joe Ellis will assume control of the team.
“It’s a really, really sad day,” Ellis said. “It’s sad for his family, his wife and his seven children. It’s sad for everyone in the organization. And it’s sad for all the Bronco fans who know what Pat Bowlen meant to them as an owner. It’s a day nobody wanted to see happen.”
The plan appears to be for the franchise to remain in control of the Bowlen family with one of children assuming control at some point.
Here’s a statement from the team regarding Bowlen:
“In recent years, Denver Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen has taken a reduced role with his team while courageously and privately battling Alzheimer’s disease.
“The Broncos are very saddened that Mr. Bowlen is no longer able to be part of the team’s daily operations due to his condition. We continue to offer our full support, compassion and respect to ‘Mr. B,’ who has faced Alzheimer’s disease with such dignity and strength.
“As Mr. Bowlen focuses on his health, the Broncos have announced changes to their leadership structure that will ensure the long-term stability of the franchise.
“Mr. Bowlen’s ownership of the Broncos is held in a trust—the Pat Bowlen Trust—overseen by non-family trustees with President Joe Ellis continuing to operate the team with full authority on all matters. Plans for this trust were arranged by Mr. Bowlen beginning more than a decade ago as part of his succession plan to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family.
“Mr. Bowlen’s long-term hope is for one of his children to run the Broncos at the appropriate time, and his succession plan will continue to be implemented by our organization in compliance with NFL ownership policies.
“Ellis, who has worked with Mr. Bowlen for nearly 30 years, also has been named the Broncos’ chief executive officer and adds those responsibilities to his role as team president. He serves as the club’s representation for all league matters.
“Going forward, Pat Bowlen’s indelible contributions to the Broncos, the NFL and this community will continue to define his three decades of ownership and serve as the standard he has set for his franchise.
“With more than 300 victories, including six AFC Championships and back-to-back Super Bowls, Mr. Bowlen has established the culture of winning that is responsible for the Broncos’ sustained success. His work on various league committees has helped the NFL achieve unprecedented prosperity, and his philanthropic generosity has had a positive impact on so many throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.
“The Broncos have the utmost appreciation for Mr. Bowlen and are completely focused on adding to his championship legacy with him in the years ahead.”