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Old 02-15-2009, 05:31 AM   #1
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Yes, Bowlen is taking control of Broncos
By Woody Paige
The Denver Post
Posted: 02/15/2009 12:30:00 AM MST

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, left, was in no mood to build Mike Shanahan a new practice facility, which sources say the coach requested. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post )

When Patrick Dennis Bowlen was introduced as the Broncos' new owner on March 23, 1984, he became a yes man.

No more.

Bowlen, a quarter-century into ownership and approaching 65, finally and emphatically said "no" to Mike Shanahan this past year, according to two Bowlen confidants who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Shanahan told Bowlen he wanted the owner to build a new practice facility. The Broncos' current headquarters in suburban Dove Valley was opened in 1990 and is named in honor of the owner's late father, Paul D. Bowlen. In 2004-05 the facility was renovated and expanded.

"Pat said no. Mike had gone too far. It was the only time Pat didn't say yes," one source said. The other said: "That was the beginning of the end of their professional relationship."

The end came because of a three-year record of 24-24, no division titles, no postseason participation, an atrocious defense, the decline of an NFL "crown jewel," the increasing unrest in the community concerning the coach, and the collapse at the close of the season (three consecutive defeats, concluded by the humiliation in San Diego). Add to that the frank realization by Bowlen that he was the titular head of the franchise, awareness that he wouldn't be condemned universally by media and fans, growing financial uncertainties and that request for a new building, and Bowlen decided to assume control, at last, of his foundering $1 billion empire.

The yes man said yes to himself.

Bowlen had said yes to virtually everything Dan Reeves (coach in 1984, also named vice president of the franchise in 1985) asked for until the owner fired him on Dec. 28, 1992.

For the next two years, the organization wandered aimlessly while Wade Phillips was the "interim" coach until Shana- han agreed to take over in 1995 as coach with, as the Broncos media guide emphasized the past season, "complete control of all aspects of football operations."

Bowlen said yes to Shanahan's football operations and most of the other aspects of the operations.

Yes to free agents who cost Bowlen hundreds of millions of dollars in immediate bonuses and long-term salaries. (Travis Henry, Dale Carter, Daryl Gardener, Michael Dean Perry, Niko Koutouvides among the pricey busts.)

Yes to one of the largest and most expensive assistant coaching staffs in the NFL (six different defensive coordinators since 2000).

Yes to almost 50 trades, several for highly paid players who underachieved (Dewayne Robertson, Javon Walker and Dre Bly, for example).

Yes to firings (Ted Sundquist, general manager in name), yes to exclusions (John Elway), yes to hirings (father and son combinations), yes to drafted players and yes to troubled players.

What developed wasn't really anybody's fault. When Bowlen bought the team, he didn't know football. Without interference, Reeves coached the Broncos to three Super Bowls. Shanahan, who had an offer to stay with the 49ers and be the next head coach, would return to Denver only if he had full authority, and he, without interference, coached the Broncos to two Super Bowl championships.

Without interference, the franchise also has declined twice.

It wasn't as if the coach-in-command was a fresh idea in Denver.

In December 1959, Dean Griffing was named the Broncos' first general manager. Mostly, he selected the original ghastly uniforms and colors, and retrieved footballs from the stands after extra points (to limit
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expenses). He was fired in 1962 when second coach Jack Faulkner assumed the GM's role too. Lou Saban was appointed coach-general manager in 1967, and after he quit, John Ralston was selected his successor for both jobs. Shortly after the 1976 season, Ralston was dumped as general manager, then soon after as coach.

Red Miller served solely as coach from 1977 (the Broncos' first Super Bowl season) until 1980, and Fred Gehrke was the general manager. After Edgar Kaiser purchased the team from the Phipps family in early 1981, he fired both men and named Reeves coach and ex-Vikings lineman Grady Alderman as GM. Alderman disappeared quickly, replaced by Kaiser with his attorney/gofer Hein Poulus, who didn't know the shape of a football. He told me in 1992 he would cut Randy Gradishar's contract in half and considered doubling ticket prices. Kaiser was clueless as an owner, but, like a blind squirrel, had the greatest trade in Denver sports history fall into his lap.

When Bowlen arrived, the Broncos maintained a strong-coach-weak-general- manager organization. GM John Beake aided VP Reeves.

Over the years, Bowlen concentrated on dealing with league issues and committees, funding the team, learning more about football, choosing new "predominantly orange" uniforms and championship rings, giving his input on personnel changes and drafts, enjoying the Broncos' success and loathing their failures.

Now Bowlen has a coach who will coach and a general manager who will manage. They will work together, supposedly, and work under the owner.

Bowlen will be a yes man and a no man. And there will be more pressure on the head man.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:06 AM   #2
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I've been calling for this for years. Taco you can no longer say "He's a hands off owner won't happen Meck".

No guarantee the new staff will produce a SB but their benchmark over the last decade isn't that high to surpass.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:26 AM   #3
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Eh, Bowlen is still pretty hands-off when it comes to day to day football operations, however, he will hold Xanders and McD. responsible for their decisions and he will be more pro-active in asking them questions. He will want them to justify their decisions.

Big deal. That's the kind of owner you want. Not a Clay Ford moron.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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Good point Tombstone.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:11 AM   #5
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Day to day operations maybe but if this teams becomes a playoff contender again Bowlen will get the praise. If it doesn't the Shanny lovers of the mane will be calling for Pat to leave town.

The Broncos are under Bowlens control no matter how you slice it now. If you've read any of the articles lately the organizational chart now flows directly to him.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:54 AM   #6
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As the owner, the de facto flow chart always ends with him. However, now there is less red tape and BS for Bowlen to deal with and pay for.

Last edited by Tombstone RJ; 02-15-2009 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:34 AM   #7
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Do the Broncos really need a new facility? I've never been there, but isn't it regarded as one of the best in the NFL?
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:00 PM   #8
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I love how people rip Bowlen for firing Shanahan, but fail to give him credit for developing the guy in his system, and then bringing him back to Denver in the first place.

Again, Shanahan calls him the best owner in sports for a reason.

Bowlen built a winning team before Shanahan, during Shanahan and he's building another now that Shanahan is gone.

Some of you folks need to step away from the ledge and think this thing over a bit.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popps View Post
Some of you folks need to step away from the ledge and think this thing over a bit.
Yes but how will the Broncos find such FA gems as Niko, Colbert, Boss, McCree, and Manuel this offseason without the Goodmans and Shanny calling the shots? I think we're doomed...
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #10
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Bowlen is a business man and business is a results-driven world. Shanahan missed the playoffs three years in a row, including a historic collapse late in the season. Bowlen is a hands off owner when it comes to football things but he has a low tolerance of mediocrity. Everyone of his coaches were fired after repeating mediocre seasons. Once he puts the coach he likes in place he lets them do their thing and gets out of the way.

People that say "the flow chart goes to Bowlen" need to understand that's not something new. It always has stopped with Bowlen. McDaniels will have close to the same authority on football matters that Shanahan and Reeves did.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylore View Post
Bowlen is a business man and business is a results-driven world. Shanahan missed the playoffs three years in a row, including a historic collapse late in the season. Bowlen is a hands off owner when it comes to football things but he has a low tolerance of mediocrity. Everyone of his coaches were fired after repeating mediocre seasons. Once he puts the coach he likes in place he lets them do their thing and gets out of the way.

People that say "the flow chart goes to Bowlen" need to understand that's not something new. It always has stopped with Bowlen. McDaniels will have close to the same authority on football matters that Shanahan and Reeves did.
Hell.....in 5 years! Shanahan could be back in Denver as the head coach!!
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:35 PM   #12
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i look at Bowlen this way. he is the guy who 15 years ago, signed a young HC and assembled a front office and allowed his coach to put a staff in place and won 2 super bowls.

i think Bowlen reasserting himself and making changes is in the best interest of the team.

he knows what he is doing and did it years ago. we will see the blue and orange back in the super bowl within 3 years.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylore View Post
Bowlen is a business man and business is a results-driven world. Shanahan missed the playoffs three years in a row, including a historic collapse late in the season. Bowlen is a hands off owner when it comes to football things but he has a low tolerance of mediocrity. Everyone of his coaches were fired after repeating mediocre seasons. Once he puts the coach he likes in place he lets them do their thing and gets out of the way.

People that say "the flow chart goes to Bowlen" need to understand that's not something new. It always has stopped with Bowlen. McDaniels will have close to the same authority on football matters that Shanahan and Reeves did.
You go whichever way the wind blows, Kaylore, eh? Whichever way the wind blows, you're with it.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:36 PM   #14
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I love how people rip Bowlen for firing Shanahan, but fail to give him credit for developing the guy in his system, and then bringing him back to Denver in the first place.

Again, Shanahan calls him the best owner in sports for a reason.

Bowlen built a winning team before Shanahan, during Shanahan and he's building another now that Shanahan is gone.

Some of you folks need to step away from the ledge and think this thing over a bit.
C'mon, dude, 70% of this board were barely born when Bowlen bought the team, maybe 10-12 years old and still playing with Knight Rider dolls when Reeves was fired. They think they know everything and resent anybody that tells them they don't.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:05 PM   #15
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Thank god I am not one of the young ones that did not live the original glory days back in the 70's
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:14 PM   #16
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I have more faith in Bowlen to put the organization back on track than I did with Shanahan there at the end.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:16 PM   #17
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I have more faith in Bowlen to put the organization back on track than I did with Shanahan there at the end.

yep......
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:28 PM   #18
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Its pretty simple Bronx, its Bowlen's money, its in his best interest to get the ship righted.

With GMs and coaches, all they have on the line is a job. A well paying job yes, but a job. With owners, they have literally hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and you can bet your ass most of these guys are savvy businessmen and will do whatever it takes to make a profit.

With the current state of affairs had he kept the status quo, he could be in the red pretty damn shortly if he isnt already. He will make sure he gets or stays in the black though and for him, that meant firing the incompetent de-facto head coach who's defense had grown steadily worse year after year after year.

And at the end, Shanahan was incompetent. Anyone who argues that is a moron.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:32 PM   #19
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Bowlen may be more proactive, and he's cutting back his staff, and he's refusing to spend unecessary capitol...

Eh, yah, so what.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:51 PM   #20
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So... does Bowlen actually know anything about football?
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cito Pelon View Post
C'mon, dude, 70% of this board were barely born when Bowlen bought the team, maybe 10-12 years old and still playing with Knight Rider dolls when Reeves was fired. They think they know everything and resent anybody that tells them they don't.
i was 7 and it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures when Reeves was fired. get it right man....lol
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:08 PM   #22
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You go whichever way the wind blows, Kaylore, eh? Whichever way the wind blows, you're with it.
I don't even know what you're talking about. I still think Reeves held Elway back and Elway was awesome.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:11 PM   #23
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I don't even know what you're talking about. I still think Reeves held Elway back and Elway was awesome.
Cito just likes to use the term "Blowing"

Its his favorite thing in the world he loves to "blow"
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:35 PM   #24
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Bowlen must have been swayed by my eloquent and moving "Time to Sack Up, Pat" (or something like that) thread.

When challenged to "sack up", Pat gets a-movin'.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #25
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The only thing that worries me is that I think Bowlen is letting the economy drive his decision making more than winning is. I expect FA to fully reflect this as well...5 years ago a big name FA would be coming to denver no questions asked but I don't see that happening this year. I hope I'm wrong.
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