Paul Tagliabue: Pat Bowlen is one of the top five owners in league history

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Pat Bowlen will receive much praise, as he should, in the coming days. No praise will be higher than that given by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“Pat Bowlen and I spent a great deal of time together during my 17 years as Commissioner,” Tagliabue said in a statement issued Friday. “He volunteered on more than a dozen League Committees so we often had meetings in our New York office during the day and then enjoyed dinner conversation at night revolving around our families and his love for the Broncos, their fans and their players.

“Pat was an extraordinary leader and open-minded consensus builder. I have long considered Pat one of the top five NFL owners in league history.”

The NFL has had many owners over the years, and many of them have done an excellent job. For someone who spent 17 years as Commissioner (and who knows plenty of owners) to put Bowlen in that category says a lot about who Bowlen was, and what he did for the league.

Currently, the league could use more open-minded consensus builders right now. (The country could, too.) Here’s hoping these memories of Bowlen will stir others to emulate the qualities that made Bowlen who he was.

4 responses to “Paul Tagliabue: Pat Bowlen is one of the top five owners in league history

  1. He committed the two biggest violations in NFL history – outspending the then $54M cap by a huge $29M (plus various other improper contract manipulations), not once but twice. This kept Elway and other high-paid vets sweet and together for those two late SB runs and effectively totally cheated the Steelers or Packers in 1998, and the Jets or Falcons in 1999 out of a fair chance of the title.

  2. So, Paul… who are the other four? I’m thinking Lamar Hunt, Dan Rooney, Curly Lambeau and George Halas? I would be tempted to include Bob Kraft, but he’s too much of a Johnny Come Lately to really be in the conversation.

  3. I’ll try this again since first attempt was deleted through review…if you’re going to speak ill of the dead, at least get your facts straight. The issues with the cap were actually deferred comp payments. Select players agreed to have portions of their cash payouts delayed to assist the franchise/Bowlen with funding the new stadium. They did not exceed the cap, and players were actually paid less than their salaries those years. I don’t understand how that gave them a competitive advantage on the field so maybe someone can explain that. But let’s not let facts get in the way of trashing a great and classy human and owner.

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