Although it has been clear for some time that Brittany Bowlen would likely be the only one of Pat Bowlen‘s seven children to take over ownership of the franchise, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis — one of the trustees of the Pat Bowlen Trust — had previously stated that there is no “depth chart” as to which child would replace Pat as principal owner.
But much has changed over the past couple of months. In late November, we learned that Brittany would begin working with the team as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, which was the first time the team had acknowledged that she was definitively a part of the succession plan. More recently, Ellis announced that Brittany had distinguished herself as the “only successor” (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).
However, Ellis also made it clear that the rest of the Bowlen family would need to rally around Brittany and support her, and if that does not happen, the trustees may be forced to sell the team to an outside party. And given that two of Pat’s older daughters from an earlier marriage, Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace, have filed a lawsuit challenging their father’s mental capacity to approve the Trust, it’s difficult to imagine Brittany will be getting full support from her family.
Ellis did concede that full family support is not a requirement, and a Trust source tells Mike Klis of 9News.com that Brittany would not need unanimous approval from the other six Bowlen children. While such approval would be ideal, given that all seven children would continue to have an equal financial share in the team, Klis said Pat did not want the club to be sold outside the family.
So even though Brittany still looks like the safe bet, she will need to step up to bring the family together, which will not be an easy task. And in any event, nothing can happen during the pending lawsuit, the next court date for which is in the spring.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.