Citing Alzheimer’s battle, Bowlen cedes control of Broncos

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is ceding control of the team, in a nod to his until now private battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Team president Joe Ellis will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

Mr. B has placed ownership of the team into a trust, intending for one of his seven children to one day assume control of his beloved Broncos.

The organization and Pat's wife, Annabel, each issued statements about the transition on Wednesday morning. Said Mrs. Bowlen,

As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer’s disease for the last few years. He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, ‘It’s not about me.’

Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner...Long-term, I fully support Pat’s hope of keeping the Denver Broncos in the Bowlen family.

At moments like this, it may seem trite to employ words like classiness and greatness, but they befit Mr. B.

We're often critical of NFL owners for their greed and meddlesomeness, but Bowlen has always stood out in that crowd of billionaires.

While other owners have been overly involved in personnel decisions, and/or extorted personal seat license fees from their already loyal customers, Mr. B did neither.

Bowlen - twice - wisely chose John Elway over his head coaches.

Indeed, most of the Broncos' remarkable success over Bowlen's 30 years of ownership relates directly to Elway.

But a lesser owner would have let Dan Reeves trade the struggling quarterback (to Washington) after his tenth season.

A lesser owner would have selected a "more experienced" (read: someone not good enough to keep their job) retread to run football operations, when it came time to strip Josh McDaniels of his control.

A lesser owner might have been swept up by the allure of Tebowmania; instead, Bowlen gave Elway the freedom - and money - to rebuild the team in Peyton Manning's image.

For his wisdom, especially as pertains to hiring the right people and letting them do their jobs, Bowlen's legacy includes 16 playoff appearances, 11 AFCW titles, six conference championships, and two Super Bowl victories.

Thank You, Mr. B - for 30 great years, you have spoiled us all.

Our hearts and minds go out to Pat and the entire Bowlen family as they fight this cruelest of diseases.

Links

Chris Hall discusses the news for BTV.

Lindsay JonesAndrew Mason, Woody Paige, and Mark Kiszla offer appreciations for Bowlen's legacy.

From the DP, a timeline of Mr. B's 30 years of ownership.

Nicki Jhabvala collects reactions to the news.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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