DENVER (CBS4) – Following the news of Pat Bowlen’s passing, former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan remembered his former boss and close friend. Sadness soon gave way to wonderful memories.
Those memories include back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
“When you beat the Packers and raise the Lombardi Trophy, what did you feel for Pat personally at that moment?” CBS4’s Jim Benemann asked Shanahan.
“So of course he says this one’s for John. That was so great because he had such a special relationship with John,” Shanahan replied.
He says Bowlen’s powerful work ethic was paired with a great sense of humor — even when it came to that full length fur coat.
“I knew he had no idea what was going to happen. I knew he was going to get killed for wearing that thing, and I told him the people of Denver will chew you up for wearing that thing, but Pat was a guy who could laugh … and that was coming from an assistant coach at the time.”
After one Super Bowl victory, Shanahan learned not even the President of the United States interrupts the famous Bowlen morning workout.
“Pat has a situation. The President’s going to call at 5:15 a.m. and he says to me ‘you got to make the call.’ I’m like ‘what the hell??? I can’t. It’s the President of the United States!’ He says ‘nope, I got to get my workout in,’ and he got his workout in!”
Shanahan says the Broncos’ success was built on that fiery competitiveness.
“We would run together and you learn fast that with Pat it’s always a competition. I had to get in shape if i was going to run with him because he would try to hurt you. Not just beat you. Hurt you.”
By the next training camp, Shanahan was ready.
“And it was the first time I got him tired. I felt like I’d won the Super Bowl because I never thought it would happen.”
Shanahan said they talked every day on the phone as Bowlen told him to focus on the positives following his departure from the team and as he moved forward.