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Finally! Pat Bowlen nominated to HOF

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2018

If you’ve paid the slightest attention to sports news today, you already know that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has been nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It took long enough. Bowlen stepped down as CEO and turned the team over to a trust four years ago due to his Alzheimer’s disease.

Bowlen is often described as “a Canadian businessman,” but he’s actually an American businessman, born in Wisconsin, with degrees in business and law from the University of Oklahoma. He just happened to make tons of money in Canada, first as a lawyer and then in real estate, oil, and mining. But my impression (admittedly, from a distance with limited information) is that nothing meant more to him than the Broncos. He was certainly an actively involved owner on a day-to-day basis who had great relationships with his coaches and players. Check out the second and third videos embedded in the CBS Denver story linked above.

Current President/CEO Joe Ellis and former player Steve Atwater (who should also be in the HOF) delivered the news to Bowlen, who reportedly smiled when told of the nomination. That’s good. I’m glad he’s still aware enough to derive some pleasure from hearing the news.

Ten owners have preceded Bowlen into the HOF, and only three or four of those can hold a candle to Bowlen’s record of contributions to the league and accomplishments as a team owner. The record of the Broncos under his leadership speaks for itself: more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons; best winning percentage of any NFL team, and second-best of any professional sports franchise (I believe the best is the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, and — surprise! — Pat Bowlen owns that too).

Bowlen’s work on numerous ownership committees makes him arguably more responsible than anyone else for NFL football’s tremendous TV success and ascendancy to being America’s favorite sport. Are you one of the umpteen millions who enjoy Sunday Night Football, perennially the highest-rated show on TV by a large margin? Thank Pat Bowlen; it was his idea.

The actual vote on the nominees takes place February 2nd (the day after the Super Bowl), and the induction ceremony will be next August. All the experts I’ve heard say he’s a slam-dunk, that the vote will be basically a formality. I certainly hope so. And I hope when that happens, he’s still able to understand that he’s received that well-deserved honor.

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