“This one’s for John . . . ”
Have there ever been better words ever spoken in the history of the Broncos?
Maybe John Elway’s first press conference? Maybe Peyton Manning’s signing? Perhaps Josh McDaniels firing? Maybe, but today is all about “Mr. B”.
Long-time Denver Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen has officially removed himself from day-to-day operations due to his battle with Alzheimer’s. It’s something that has been rumored about since the end of the Mike Shanahan era.
So on that beautiful San Diego night, January 25,1998, Pat Bowlen said the words that EVERYONE in Broncos nation wanted to hear . . . “This one’s for John”. Why was it so perfect? Because it was so true. We all wanted it for John. And Bowlen knew it.
And Bowlen nailed it.
But what he said right before that nearly made me crawl under my seats. If you don’t remember, Bowlen’s first words after grabbing the trophy was, “I want to thank all my fans”. All MY fans? all I could think in the stands at that moment was . . . “Oh god, please no no no. Don’t ruin this moment!” This is another “fur coat at The Drive/’come on Johnny baby'” moment.
He didn’t ruin it. He nailed it.
Isn’t that how we’ve always thought of Bowlen? A non-Native buying the Broncos? Inheriting Elway but not getting talent around him? Three Super Bowl losses? Hiring Wade Phillips? Blue uniforms for the Orange Crush? We were absolutely convinced that he didn’t get it.
But he chose Elway over coach Dan Reeves. He nailed it.
He hired Shanahan. And when Shanahan said the Broncos need better facilities, accommodations and a work ethic, because that’s what will recruit top talent to the Broncos. Bowlen got it. He nailed it.
He got tax money for the new Stadium. We missed the old stadium. We didn’t necessarily want to pay for the new stadium. But when other owners were making their season-ticket holders also Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs), Bowlen didn’t follow suit. He nailed it.
When the Shanahan-era had gone stale he made the hard decision. He nailed it.
When he realized the mistake in giving McDaniels too much power. He got it. He fired McDaniels BEFORE the end of the season. It was the perfect way to get Jr. Hoodie out of our town. He nailed it.
When the franchise needed to be saved. Who’d he turn to? He turned to the guy we all wanted. We all needed. He turned the franchise over to Elway. And one last time . . . Bowlen nailed it.
Then last January, right before the Super Bowl, Bowlen told The Denver Post he is the franchise owner, but the real power resides in heart of Broncos’ fans, who view winning football as a birthright. He nailed it.
So here’s to you Mr. B. Thank you for keeping this franchise we love relevant. Thank you “mostly” making the decisions that keep Coloradans proud to be Broncos’ fans. And thank you Mr. B for being and staying a Bronco.
We are all hoping that in January 2015 Elway gets his wish . . . “This one’s for Pat!!!”