Denver Broncos: Brittany Bowlen is primed to take ownership of Pat Bowlen’s legacy

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 20: Brittany Bowlen with guest at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation 10th Anniversary BBBY fashion show at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel on October 20, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Tom Cooper/Getty Images for Global Down Syndrome Foundation)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 20: Brittany Bowlen with guest at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation 10th Anniversary BBBY fashion show at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel on October 20, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Tom Cooper/Getty Images for Global Down Syndrome Foundation) /

Is Brittany Bowlen going to be the new owner of the Denver Broncos? The groundwork may be laid for her to take over in 2022.

Brittany Bowlen, one of Denver Broncos’ late Hall of Fame owner Pat Bowlen’s seven children is an executive with the organization after joining the team in 2020. Brittany Bowlen joined the team officially with the title of Vice President of Strategic Initiatives.

Pat Bowlen left the control of the team to a Trust consisting of The group is led by Broncos CEO Joe Ellis and includes Vice President and General Counsel Rich Slivka and lawyer Mary Kelly. The trust oversees all business decisions and is tasked with identifying the next successor within the family, or if the team should sell to an outside buyer.

Who is Brittany Bowlen?

Brittany Bowlen, 30, has been identified by the team’s Trust as the only legitimate candidate to take over the team within the Bowlen family.

"In a statement, Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis said: “Brittany is working toward earning the right to succeed her father and this is the next step in that process. Given her work experience and depth of knowledge, we’re looking forward to Brittany returning to work for the Broncos and adding value across our organization.”"

Brittany Bowlen now leads a variety of strategic initiatives across multiple departments. Seeing activities over a variety of areas of the organization provides Bowlen with a complete experience of the entire organization.

One area that is interesting to note, is Brittany’s focus on issues involving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the football operations and the team’s current search for a new general manager.

Joe Ellis stated the team is focused and committed to hiring a minority candidate for either the general manager role vacated by John Elway or the Director of Player Personnel vacated by Matt Russell. Bowlen’s initiative directly impacts the candidates available for the general manager position.

Now, before Brittany Bowlen can successfully become the new controlling owner of the Denver Broncos, she must gain significant favor amongst her siblings and uncle John Bowlen (minority owner) by gaining six votes in all. Then, she must receive supporting votes from 24 out of the other 31 NFL teams.

Brittany Bowlen has business acumen and her ability to understand the gravity of NFL ownership should not be sold short. Bowlen earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Notre Dame in 2013 and an MBA from Duke in 2018 while also working for the team and large consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

So what now for Brittany Bowlen?

With CEO Joe Ellis announcing his plan to leave the team in March of 2022, there are two options for the team moving forward. First, the team is put up for sale and transitioned to an outside entity.

This is very possible that the team is moved due to the internal pressure of litigation from the Bowlen family versus the Trust and external pressure from the NFL to move the team towards a long-term solution.

That said, any hope of the Bowlen family keeping the team will only come with Brittany’s ascension to the team’s majority owner.

People are confused about the timing of the news of Elway and Ellis’ move. Here is why the moves support Bowlen becoming the next owner of the Broncos.

First, Ellis’ news gives a strong message to the disgruntled family members brother John Bowlen along with daughters Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer who have a current lawsuit challenging the Trust.

The Trust can sell the team at any time, and now the message is clear that without an ownership move to Brittany as of March of 2022, the team will be moved to someone outside the family. Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer may want to see the team move on, but the other family members may not and that could provide pressure to get the legal issues cleared up this year.

Additionally, Ellis is a successful CEO and understands the need for succession planning. Succession planning is a common practice in any business where there is an intentional designation and development of new leaders identified to replace outgoing leaders while the two overlap in duties.

Succession planning increases the continuity of experiences to the next person prepared to assume the roles and duties of the general manager.

Ellis, like Elway, will want to leave the team with someone who can keep the Broncos legacy aligned with Pat Bowlen’s wishes.

As Brittany Bowlen is the only in-house option, Ellis will most likely accelerate her learning curve to ensure a transition plan is in place by the beginning of 2022.

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The team staying within the Bowlen family may provide the fan base with a sense of sentiment, but do not believe Brittany is incapable of taking over the team. If she does, she joins some great female owners in Virginia Halas McCaskey (Chicago Bears), Martha Ford (Detroit Lions), Patricia Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Norma Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs).

Having Brittany Bowlen as the sole voice of the Broncos will provide the organization with a singular vision and clear direction. Unlike the trust, Brittany will run the team as she sees fit, not how she believes someone else would want the team ran.

Also, Brittany Bowlen understands the region and the expectations of Broncos Country being around her father for each Super Bowl run. She understands, as good as anyone, what it took her father to achieve excellence.

The writing is on the wall, it is Brittany Bowlen or bust. Bowlen deserves an opportunity to take over for her father and it seems as though the plan is in place for her to do so. I am rooting for her to take over for her father Pat and keeping the Bowlen family in Denver for a long time.