DENVER (CBS) – Broncos owner Pat Bowlen was named as one of two “Contributor” finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Bowlen has been the Broncos owner since 1984, and the team has won three Super Bowls during that time. He hasn’t been involved in team operations since 2014 when it was officially announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease.
Along with Bowlen, Dallas Cowboys longtime executive Gil Brandt was also named a Contributor. Inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced next February — on the day before Super Bowl LIII.
“When you talk about contributors, nobody’s given more to the game than Pat Bowlen. His impact on the Broncos and NFL will never be matched, and it’s great to see that recognized today,” Broncos general manager John Elway tweeted. “I can’t wait for the day Pat’s bust joins the Bronco family in the @ProFootballHOF!”
When Bowlen bought the majority stake in the Broncos he was known at the time as a Canadian oilman with a fortune built on oil and gas and real estate.
Bowlen quickly showed determination to win as an owner and the team hired a respected head coach, Dan Reeves, and acquired quarterback John Elway.
The Broncos made three Super Bowl trips in four years in the 1980s and Bowlen’s reputation grew in the league. His business acumen made him a star, not just in the front office but in the boardrooms of New York as well.
As a member of the NFL’s most powerful committees, Bowlen would help shape the future of professional football. Record-breaking TV deals and years of labor peace were just some of the accomplishments. He wound up serving on 15 different league committees.
After the hiring of Coach Mike Shanahan in the 1990s the team won two Super Bowls. They also made it to two Super Bowls earlier this decade with John Elway back on the team in a GM role and Peyton Manning at quarterback and were victorious in the latter — Super Bowl 50.
In 2015, the Broncos Ring of Fame Bowlen created added his name.
In order to become an elected the Pro Football Hall of Fame, finalists must receive 80 percent approval from the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee.
from the full committee for election.
The following statement was released Thursday afternoon by the Bowlen family:
This is an exciting day for our family and the Broncos fans who have been so supportive of Pat Bowlen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pat would be the first to say it’s not just about him but a credit to the many players, coaches and executives he worked with over the years. We’re thankful to the Contributor Committee for recognizing the incredible impact Pat’s had on the NFL. As we look forward to the final vote, our family also congratulates Gil Brandt on his well-deserved nomination.
Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis released the following statement:
We’re absolutely thrilled for Pat and the entire Bowlen family. There’s no question that Pat elevated the NFL, the Broncos and our region over the last three decades. He’s always had such modesty and humility, but he’s incredibly deserving of this selection and we appreciate the contributor committee nominating him. It’s very special to see Pat take such a significant step toward the Pro Football Hall of Fame.