“Everything you see, it’s in his vision — what he’s meant to this city and to this team”
To this day, the Broncos have more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons under the ownership of Pat Bowlen.
No owner ever saw his team reach 300 wins faster than Bowlen, whose team’s record of success has been virtually unmatched since he bought the team in 1984. Under his watch, the Broncos immediately roared to a 13-3 season — posting more wins than they ever had before in a single regular season.
The success was just beginning, thanks to an ownership style that saw him listen instead of dictate. He empowered his staff rather than undermining them, offering ample support every step of the way.
His team’s on-field accomplishments should stand for themselves:
- He’s the only owner in NFL history who has had four different head coaches lead his teams to Super Bowl appearances.
- He’s one of only seven owners in NFL history to preside over a team that has three or more Super Bowl wins.
- The Broncos’ 21 winning seasons and 18 playoff berths since 1984 are the most under a single owner in the NFL during that span, and the Broncos have never had consecutive losing seasons under Bowlen’s watch.
- During Bowlen’s ownership, the Broncos own the second-highest winning percentage (.603) in the NFL, which ranks third in all of professional sports.
- Bowlen has helped Denver become the only NFL franchise to win at least 90 games in each of the last three decades. With 14 more wins in 2018 and 2019, they will make it four decades.
- Under Bowlen, the Broncos were the only AFC team to appear in three Super Bowls in the 1980s. They were also the only team from the conference to win a Super Bowl in the 1990s, capturing back-to-back World Championships in 1997-98 while setting an NFL record for most overall wins (33-6, .846) in a two-year period.But these are not all. They’re not even close to the complete picture of Bowlen’s impact on the team and the league. Among owners, he was a leader, serving as co-chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee and Chairman of the NFL Broadcasting Committee. He served on six other committees, as well.
Bowlen’s place with the management council and the broadcasting committee allowed him to blend his legal background with his understanding of how mass media could help the game continue to grow. The decision to make Sunday Night Football the primary prime-time game of each week stemmed from Bowlen, and helped create a program that perennially posts the highest ratings in U.S. broadcast television.
“He made the game better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2017, “and frankly, I don’t think the game would be as good without Pat Bowlen.”