Broncos reiterate there are no plans to sell team

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In response to Tuesday’s item from the Denver Post explaining that three of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen’s seven children have exited the employment of the team, we pointed out that the development invites speculation that the team eventually will be sold. In response to that response, Broncos V.P. of communications Patrick Smyth reiterated that the Pat Bowlen Trust doesn’t plan to sell the team.

No plans for the sale of the team,” Smyth said on Twitter. “The hope remains to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family.”

“Hope” is the key word here. There’s a chance that none of the seven Bowlen children ever will develop and demonstrate the skills and abilities necessary to “earn the right to sit in his seat and run the team,” as team president Joe Ellis said in 2014.

Taking a broader look at the situation, and comparing it to a dynamic with which my limited cognitive powers can relate, the seven Bowlen children are in a Willie Wonka-style competition for the privilege of securing the keys to the chocolate factory. At some point, one of them will be deemed to be worthy of becoming the controlling owner of the franchise.

Until then, the team is being held in trust, with Ellis serving as the de facto owner, for the purposes of casting votes and otherwise representing the team at league meetings. Given the ownership issues in Tennessee, where team founder Bud Adams didn’t arrange for a clear transfer of control to one of his children before his passing, it’s critical that one person at all times be in charge of the Broncos and every other NFL franchise. In Denver, Pat Bowlen has decided that one of his children eventually will be selected as being worthy of having that power.

There’s no guarantee, however, that any of them will qualify. There’s no specific timetable or deadline for one of the Bowlen children to earn the right to succeed their father. At a minimum, it will take several years. In theory, it could take many years.

For now, there’s no urgency to resolve the situation. The franchise is thriving, both financially and on the field. Unless and until the organization stumbles badly (since 1982, the Broncos have had only five total sub.-500 seasons, and they haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1971 and 1972), no one from outside the organization will clamor for a new leader to be named from inside the Bowlen family — or for the family to sell the team to someone else who will be able to do the job.

Regardless, ownership of the team has been and will remain in a state of limbo until Ellis and his fellow trustees determine that one of the Bowlen children is ready to run a football with primary colors that include the shade of the Oompa Loompa.

17 responses to “Broncos reiterate there are no plans to sell team

  1. “The hope remains to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family.”


    That doesn’t sound too convincing.

  2. “There’s no guarantee, however, that any of them will qualify.”

    Not even John ‘The Blood of the City” Michael Bowlen?
    Sure, he may be on the outside looking in ATM, but one should ne, lolver discount ‘The Blood’, lol

  3. Bah, my money was on that son that got arrested for whippets. Sneezey, I think?

  4. Broncos, LEARN from your ex-AFC West division mates. Save yourselves from our fate, when the Nordstrom family sold the Seahawks in 1988 to Ken Behring, who quickly turned us into a bottom of the barrel franchise, until we were mercifully rescued by Paul Allen a decade later. If the Bowlens DO put the team on the block, hope against hope that the prospective buyers are NOT out-of-town carpetbaggers.

  5. It’s been generally understood that John Elway has the pieces in place once the vegetable that used to be Bowlen passes away. The guy has had dementia for many years and hasn’t run the team in a long time. Elway is the de facto owner and will almost definitely be a Magic Johnson style lead owner in a coalition in a deal that is probably already in place

  6. I heard the NFL is going to move the team to Las Vegas if the new owners do not build a new stadium. Well that’s what I heard other cities have to put up with it why not denver

  7. Just because there is a desire for one child to run the team does not mean they will own it. Ownership will still be evenly divided. For now the best move if you are a Bowlen child is to keep quiet and cash your checks. The trust guarantees them easy money while Mr. Bowlen is alive.

    When Mr. Bowlen passes away, that will all change. Seven different owners and no person blessed to run the team means it will likely end up in a sale just due to disagreements. Can you imagine trying to guarantee cash flow with seven hungry kids and their families sucking on the team teet?

  8. Las Vegas Burros. It would be fitting that the dirtiest team in the NFL does a money grab to Sin City. Blatantly flaunted salary cap violations to 2 SB “wins.” Ignored during the “This one’s for John” Crusade. Then the strategic placing of refs and replay officials for the PEDton Manning scheme.

  9. I met Joe Ellis’s brother at a conference in San Diego in late January and he STRONGLY indicated that the team doesn’t believe any of the Bowlen children are fit to run the franchise and the hope is that John Elway, and perhaps even Peyton Manning, possibly buy a majority portion of the team.

  10. Broncos have an unclear leadership structure and it is no problem because they have a good GM and are winning football games.

    Titans have an unclear leadership situation and everyone pushes for the team to be sold.

  11. Donald Trump will buy the Broncos. He will field an all white protestant team with orange hair.

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