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Volume 24 No. 215
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Broncos Remain Without Firm Successor To Bowlen Three Years After Plan Announced

The Broncos are forging ahead "without a stated frontrunner to succeed" Owner Pat Bowlen, creating an "outside perception that there are fissures at the top" of the organization, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the DENVER POST. Many of the details of how the Broncos plan to decide on Bowlen's successor "have remained secret out of respect for the Bowlen family and because the team is under no obligation to disclose such information." A broad plan was outlined three years ago "to find the most capable among Bowlen's seven children to succeed him." The team's ownership in October '13 was placed "in the hands of three trustees" -- team President & CEO Joe Ellis, General Counsel & Exec VP Rich Slivka and Denver attorney Mary Kelly. Ellis has "full authority to make final decisions for the team" as Controlling Owner Delegee. It was Bowlen's "desire to keep the team within the family, but if the trustees ever deem it in the best interest of the team and the trust's beneficiaries -- Bowlen's children -- to sell, they have complete authority to do so." Sources said that the three trustees sent Bowlen's children and wife a "lengthy blueprint" in February '15 that included a "list of requisites, in addition to a short list of responsibilities, for whomever will be the next controlling owner." Since Bowlen stepped down, Ellis has "remained adamant that the team will eventually be passed down to Bowlen's children." The "exact timetable for a transfer of ownership has yet to be determined." But the NFL "won't wait forever, as evidenced by its mandates and sales of other teams in the past" (DENVER POST, 1/13).