USA TODAY Sports Weekly
BRONCOS: ‘THIS ONE’S FOR PAT’
A Super Bowl championship is so close now that the men who run Pat Bowlen’s team are starting to allow themselves to imagine what the ceremony might be like.
John Elway, the team’s Hall of Fame quarterback turned general manager, would lift the Lombardi Trophy over his head and shout four words into the microphone: “This one’s for Pat.”
It would be a perfect way for Elway to thank owner Pat Bowlen and a fitting tribute to Bowlen’s famous “This one’s for John” speech after the Elway-led Broncos won their first Super Bowl 18 years ago.
“If the team is fortunate enough to win, someone will say, ‘This one’s for Pat.’ But Pat wouldn’t want it that way,” Broncos chief executive officer Joe Ellis said. “He would never make it about himself. He was too humble for that. And he would certainly impose on his players the understanding that it’s really all about them.”
Super Bowl 50 will be the Broncos’ seventh appearance in the game since Bowlen bought the team in 1983, but the first he will be unable to attend. Deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease, he has been unable to attend any of the Broncos’ games this season.
He placed his ownership into the Pat Bowlen Trust in July 2014, part of a decade-long plan to assure the team will stay within his family. The goal is to eventually have one of Bowlen’s seven children take over as owner and CEO.
“It’s a shame that he can’t be there like he was, because he would enjoy this,” Ellis said. “He would really appreciate how this team has conducted itself this year, with all these gritty wins and with this relentless effort each week.”
Ellis thinks Bowlen would be especially proud of coach Gary Kubiak, who was a rookie backup quarterback for the Broncos in 1983 when Bowlen bought the team.
Bowlen hasn’t been around the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Centre, the team training facility he named after his father, since the 2013 season.
“I wish he was around here with us, but I know it means a lot to the family ... just very proud to be a part of it. But very proud of him, the job he’s done here with this franchise,” Kubiak said.
The rest of the family, including Bowlen’s wife Annabel and his seven children along with spouses and several grandchildren, will attend the Super Bowl. So too will more than 300 Broncos employees, whose trip to California was paid for by the Bowlen Family Trust. Bowlen paid for all of his employees to attend each of the team’s previous six Super Bowls.
Lindsay H. Jones