DENVER — How do you say, “Thank you,” to a man who meant so much to making an organization one of the finest in professional sports? Words only begin to express the emotion behind them. Gestures, no matter how grand, are inadequate.

But what stands at the center of Ring of Fame Plaza outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High is a deep expression of gratitude, and a way to forever honor the legacy of Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen: a nine-foot statue in front of four plaques which commemorate his contributions to the community, his life and the Broncos’ success — which he always regarded as a collaborative accomplishment of the highest order.

“Pat has never sought the spotlight, and never asked for accolades during his 31 years as owner of the Broncos,” said his wife, Annabel Bowlen. “To Pat, it is always everyone else that deserves the credit.”

And at Saturday’s unveiling, some of those key contributors were on hand: Pro Football Hall of Famers Gary Zimmerman, Floyd Little and John Elway, Ring of Famer and longtime Broncos staffer Billy Thompson, team executives, and Bowlen’s friends and family.

“Pat’s a friend, he’s a mentor and he is someone who has clearly made a profound impact not only on the Denver Broncos but the NFL,” Elway said. “He is getting the recognition he so deserved — but never sought out.”

A group of sponsors and community leaders called Club 32 — in honor of the Broncos’ first world championship, in Super Bowl XXXII — made the recognition possible, serving as the benefactors behind the project.

Bowlen’s children unveiled the plaques as the twilight settled over the nearby Rocky Mountains. His wife, Annabel, untied the ribbon over the blue drape covering the statue. Together, the family pulled back the drape to reveal the creation of sculptor …read more