Longtime Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is giving up control over the franchise due to his ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The 70-year-old is placing ownership in the Pat Bowlen Trust that is controlled by non-family members, with team president Joe Ellis assuming control of the club.
“It’s a really, really sad day,” Ellis said. “It’s sad for his family, his wife and his seven children. It’s sad for everyone in the organization. And it’s sad for all the Bronco fans who know what Pat Bowlen meant to them as an owner. It’s a day nobody wanted to see happen.”
As the Broncos explain in a statement of their own, Bowlen’s hope is to eventually transfer control of the franchise to one of his seven children. For now, Ellis will have the final say on decisions related to the franchise, having been named the team’s CEO in addition to its president. The veteran executive will represent the Broncos for all league matters.
Bowlen purchased the Broncos franchise in 1984, and has overseen the team’s two Super Bowl wins since then, as well as its other four appearances in the championship game. During Bowlen’s tenure, the club has endured just five losing seasons, and has racked up 16 postseason appearances.