Do you know who is currently running the Denver Broncos?
If you guessed legendary quarterback John Elway you’re half right.
Elway has been the team’s President of Football Operations since 2011 and is currently entering his 9th season as the role. But behind the scenes in large boardrooms and private courtrooms a much different fight for control is brewing that isn’t so cut and dry.
The Bowlen family purchased the majority share of the Denver Broncos back in 1984 and the team has stayed in the family ever since. Pat Bowlen served as the CEO of the organization after the purchase until he stepped down from the role in 2014 due to his progressing Alzheimer disease.
And that’s when everything starts to get funky.
Pat Bowlen has seven children from two marriages and only one can run the show. The plan following Pat stepping down in 2014 was clear, the team was to be run by a trust of three people: Vice President Richard Slivka, attorney Mary Kelly and CEO Joe Ellis.
The Denver big three will then, in time, appoint the new owner of the Broncos although the criteria is held under fairly tight lock and key. What we do know is that the Bowlen family received a checklist of sorts that would guide the decision making process.
The more specific items on the list include an advanced degree and five years of senior management experience in the NFL. So pretty straightforward decision for the trustees right?
Apparently not so much. Two Bowlen siblings have come forward and expressed their interest in owning the team: Brittany and Beth
According to reports the younger of the two siblings, Brittany is the heir apparent. The 29 year-old has been fast tracked after a rotational stint with NFL League Office back to working with the Denver Broncos front office.
Older sister Beth, however, is not going quietly into the night. After reading the tea leaves her uncle filed a lawsuit claiming that Pat Bowlen’s trust is invalid because it was made while Bowlen was suffering from Alzheimers.
The case was thrown out on the pretense of the dispute being between the Bowlen family and the NFL and should be settled by an arbitrator. Beth Bowlen’s response to the news?
She filed a lawsuit of her own… On the day of her sister Brittany’s wedding.
Quietly behind one of the most stories franchises in the National Football League an ownership fight is shaping up that could get much uglier before it gets better.
Whether it’s Brittany or Beth at the helm, the Broncos will first have to survive the Joe Flacco era first.