Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. He leaves behind a huge legacy with the team, as well as the NFL.
Affectionately referred to as “Mr. B” by many, Pat Bowlen built a culture of winning within the Broncos that resulted in unprecedented sustained success. The Broncos posted as many Super Bowl appearances (7) as losing seasons under Mr. Bowlen, including the club’s back-to-back World Championships following the 1997 and 1998 seasons and its victory in Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season.
The first owner in NFL history with 300 wins over his first 30 years, Mr. Bowlen frequently said that the word “rebuilding” was not in his vocabulary. He had an annual training camp tradition of predicting a 19-0 record and Super Bowl victory for the Broncos.
“One thing that’s important to me is that we put a team on the field that can contend,” Bowlen once said. “I like to think that [the Broncos] are going to win the Super Bowl every year. I get a thrill out of that, and I know how much that means to Colorado and to Denver.”
The Broncos averaged more than 10 wins per year during Pat Bowlen’s 35 seasons, tying for the second-best overall winning percentage of all NFL teams (.596, 354-240-1) and posting a league-high 199 regular-season home wins. Among the 123 major North American professional sports franchises (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), only the San Antonio Spurs, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Lakers had a better overall winning percentage than the Broncos under Mr. Bowlen.
No NFL owner during the last 35 seasons had more winning seasons (21) and playoff berths (18) than Mr. Bowlen, who helped Denver become the only team with 90+ wins over each of his first three decades of ownership. Denver posted a league-low seven losing seasons under Mr. Bowlen while being the only team to rank among the top five in wins during both the pre-free agency (1984-92, 96 wins, T-4th) and post-free agency (1993-2018, 258 wins, 4th) eras of his ownership.
Only one owner in NFL history has presided over more Super Bowl appearances (7) than Pat Bowlen, who made it clear that winning would always be the organization’s top priority.
“As far as the business of football, winning is everything,” Bowlen once said. “It doesn’t matter what it is worth. If you are worried about what it is worth, get into some other business.”