Denver Broncos: 3 Solutions to Save the Franchise from Ruin

Denver Broncos(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The trust to establish ownership succession has been challenged.

Pat Bowlen’s brother Bill Bowlen filed a motion recently to remove the Trust appointed by Pat, claiming failure in their succession duties and conflict of interest.  There’s a great article detailing the filing from Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic.

The Trust has to work through Bill’s push in addition to Pat’s seven adult children.  Pat expressly said that Annabel, his current wife was to have no day-to-day role in the operation of the Denver Broncos.

Succession is a mess but the jist of the controversy is this:

Bill Bowlen believes that Pat Bowlen wants Beth Bowlen-Wallace, his daughter from his first marriage, to take over management of the team and expressed that desire to CEO Joe Ellis in 2011.  In 2012, Beth was named director of special projects for the Broncos and attended team meetings as a representative of the Broncos.  Annabel Bowlen was outraged, wanting one of her children to succeed Pat as controlling owner (all seven children will have financial stake but only one will have operational authority).

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With Pat incapacitated, Bill’s court filing is, he claims, to protect his brother’s wishes that Beth take the Broncos reins.  The Trust, whether of their own volition or at the insistence of Annabel has advocated for Pat and Annabel’s 28-year old daughter Brittany.

The legal mumbo-jumbo fairly dulls the mind but again, reading between the lines, the Trust advocates for someone that will keep them employed and in power indefinitely, against Pat’s wishes.

That Ellis is knee-deep in the controversy leaves just Elway at the helm of the team.  There appears to be no oversight to his actions, one has to wonder if Elway answers to anyone within the organization.  John’s record since the retirement of Peyton Manning has been hard to defend.

There is an opportunity for the Broncos and Elway to make a move that shows that management of the Broncos franchise is about more than the GM’s ego: