I woke in the middle of the night and saw an alert from Twitter announcing Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen had passed away. I couldn’t start the day at that point, so I took another melatonin and forced myself back to sleep.
It’s a bittersweet day. You are sad for the loss of a brilliant man, but you are a bit thankful that his mind is unlocked and he’s no longer caged by that horrific disease. You think of the memories, of him standing on that stage yelling “This one’s for Johhnnn!”without a hint of the ego that many billionaires possess as he triumphs Denver’s favorite son’s climb to the top. To the gleam in his eye as he celebrates on the sideline with the Broncos newest quarterback following a touchdown. You are sad for his family, his wife, who is facing the same horrendous disease. You are sad for the children, who simply lost Dad or Daddy.
I won’t pretend to have the life long attachment to Mr. B. that some or most in and around Colorado do, but I can appreciate his honesty. I can’t find the link, but I recall reading something circa 2012, where he told that newly signed quarterback and I’m paraphrasing “I used to not like you much, but I do now.” Not many would have that brutal honesty. Most would simply butter up the newest face of the franchise.
I’ve appreciated learning more about his achievements and knowing how much he did to move the National Football League forward and into what it is today.
Anger starts to seep in as you think of the annual let down of him missing out on being enshrined in Canton as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I remember lashing out at a couple of voters saying that they should be embarrassed or ashamed for putting in other “contributors” ahead of Mr. B. I stand by that, but I’m going to try my best to limit such anger to this post. It’s not that day for it, but I’ll stand by my statement that “Pat Bowlen should have been the first contributor through the door when they created the contributor category. Maybe he would have been able to enjoy it. His induction later this summer is merited and warranted but obviously now it’s a little too late. One had hope that he would have been cognitive enough to appreciate it in the privacy of his own home. In the end, I hope last December he was able to appreciate it during one of his better moments.
RIP Mr. Bowlen.
I’m sure he has as many stories as any one to play the game.