Departure of three Bowlen children from Broncos invites speculation of eventual sale

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With Broncos owner Pat Bowlen already relinquishing day-to-day control as he battles Alzheimer’s disease, questions have lingered for months regarding the future of the franchise. Tuesday’s developments will serve only to fuel speculation that, in the not-too-distant future, the franchise will be owned by someone not named “Bowlen.”

Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reported that the three children of Pat Bowlen who had been working for the team are no longer working for the team. 30-year-old John Michael Bowlen’s departure likely was fueled at least in part by his legal troubles of the past year. Two of his sisters, 26-year-old Brittany Bowlen and 45-year-old Jane Elizabeth “Beth” Bowlen Wallace, also are no longer employed by the Broncos.

Of Bowlen’s four other children, one of them — 32-year-old Patrick Bowlen III — serves as a “facilities coordinator” with the stadium management company owned by the Broncos. Bowlen has three other children, daughters who are 47, 23, and 18.

Eventually, one or more of the Bowlen children will be selected to run the team. As Jhabvala explains it, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis (pictured) said in 2014 that Bowlen developed a plan to keep the team in the family. For now, the team has been placed in a trust, with Ellis running it.

“[I]t is . . . Mr. Bowlen’s hope,” Ellis said, “that a child will come along, earn the right to sit in his seat and run the team. And that child, having spoken with the kids, understands that they will never fill his shoes. But hopefully they will earn the right to sit in the chair someday.”

Ellis didn’t say what will happen if none of the Bowlen children “earn the right to sit in the chair.” Currently, none of the seven appears to be on track to do so. With 75 percent of those who were employed by the team now not employed by the team, the pool of candidates seems to be dwindling.

If, eventually, there’s no one with the ability or the desire to do “earn the right to sit in the chair,” the alternatives will be to continue to run the team through a surrogate or to sell it. Without having access to the trust documents, it’s impossible to know when and how that time would come. It’s safe to assume that Ellis himself will have a major role in making that eventual decision.

18 responses to “Departure of three Bowlen children from Broncos invites speculation of eventual sale

  1. So the Titans w/ children (adults) that want to run the team are being strong armed by the league to sell, but the Broncos lead by a man w/ a irreversible killing disease hasn’t heard anything from the league about having to sell?

  2. I thought that fat Bowlen kid was the lifeblood of the city. According to him anyway.

  3. Maybe new ownership will play by the rules and try to win a Super Bowl without circumventing the salary cap.


  4. Sell to elway and a group of investors and your team will be safe. John Elway built that franchise with the support of Bowlen and helped build last year’s champion.

  5. Sounds more like there are 3 kids that already know it won’t be them and they have no desire to work for Ellis.
    Lots of families breakup over money. Sad but true.

  6. This situation is a real mess filled with internal family bickering, the best solution to which , is a ” FIRE SALE ” and split the proceeds.

  7. Ellis will probably be the surrogate, and they’ll sell the team to Elway and a group if all of the Bowlen kids flame out.

    Sure seems to me that the daughters aren’t interested or skilled enough to run the team. Not like the Fords; Martha has all of the Ford daughters involved with Sheila Ford Hamp being the top face. On the flip side, Mom blew out the only son involved.

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