Bowlen's Wife, Seven Children Left To Handle Broncos' Ownership
Late Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen’s seven children have had "productive conversations about how to proceed" in regards to team ownership, with all of them "present when their father passed away" at his Denver area home late Thursday, according to a source cited by Ryan O'Halloran of the DENVER POST. It is "believed Bowlen’s children will get an equal share of the team." They will be able to "see the Pat Bowlen Trust and its document" for the first time only now that their father has passed. The "big issue for the children regarding the trust will be when Pat’s wife, Annabel, passes away." Upon her death, the children will be "saddled with the 'death tax,'" which is 40% of the "value of the shares they inherit." It is "unknown how the children would pay the tax." O'Halloran: "Also not known: How Bowlen’s death will impact his brother Bill’s lawsuit against the trustees, filed last October, demanding they be removed from their responsibilities as well as the arbitration process at the NFL level led by Carmen Policy." Bowlen's daughters, Beth Bowlen Wallace and Brittany Bowlen, have "expressed interest in becoming the team’s next controlling owner" (DENVERPOST.com, 6/15).
NFL Network's James Palmer said "nothing right now in the immediate future is changing" in terms of the Broncos ownership structure. Palmer: "Pat Bowlen put a trust in place when he knew he was stepping away from the organization and that is run by the President & CEO Joe Ellis and the trust will continue to operate." What the Broncos are "trying to find out is which child is the most viable option as a successor." Palmer noted right now where it stands is that the trust will "continue to operate as they try to see fit to Pat Bowlen’s wishes, and it appears that Brittany Bowlen, his daughter, is the one successor that appears to be in line to follow in the footsteps of her father” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 6/15). THE MMQB's Albert Breer writes the "most likely" to get ownership is Brittany Bowlen, who has "taken part in a rotational program at the league office, and worked for the Broncos on the business side." Her "focus and drive towards filling her father's shoes, eventually, has at least created the perception that this more 'when' than 'if'" (SI.com, 6/17).
DOES THE JACKET FIT? In Denver, Mike Klis notes the Pro Football HOF is "reviewing its Gold Jacket and ring policy" given the "unprecedented circumstance" surrounding Bowlen. He is the first HOFer to "die between his election and induction." A HOF policy states "only living inductees are to receive the Gold Jacket and Hall of Fame ring." The policy "drew considerable controversy" following the inductions of the late Junior Seau in '15, as well as Kenny Stabler and Dick Stanfel in '16. Bowlen "could wind up becoming either an exception, amendment or simply a clarification to the rule." Not only was he alive when elected, the HOF had "made arrangements with Bowlen’s family to have a photo of the Broncos’ owner taken with a Gold Jacket and ring" (9NEWS.com, 6/17). NBCSN’s Chris Simms said the HOF is “in danger of making it look like, ‘Oh, the rich owner gets this but the players don’t'" (“PFT,” NBCSN, 6/17).
ROCKY MOUNTAIN PRAISE: In Denver, Sean Keeler wrote Bowlen "wasn’t just loved, he was adored -- by friends, family, employees and complete strangers alike." Many of the latter "gathered to pay their respects outside Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Friday, leaving flowers, memorabilia, cans of orange Crush soda ... and personal notes at the base of the statue of Bowlen that was erected in the Ring of Fame plaza" in '14 (DENVER POST, 6/15). Also in Denver, Mark Kiszla wrote the man and the team he "made great will be inseparable, forever and always" (DENVER POST, 6/15). Rockies Owner Dick Monfort "paid Bowlen the ultimate compliment, calling the Broncos’ icon an unparalleled figure in Colorado sports." Monfort said, "He's No. 1 without a doubt. ... He built that franchise into what it is now." Monfort added that Bowlen "set a bar that has been impossible to reach." Monfort: "We’re all trying to be viewed in the Rocky Mountain region the same as what that the Broncos are viewed" (DENVER POST, 6/15).