Kiszla: How the ghost of Pat Bowlen influenced the Broncos’ hiring of general manager George Paton

Perhaps you don’t believe in ghosts or karma. But while the Broncos were wooing George Paton as the general manager to restore our local NFL team’s lost glory, the spirit of late franchise owner Pat Bowlen was in the room.

If it all goes according to plan and the football acumen of Paton allows a member of the Bowlen family to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as confetti swirls after the fourth Super Bowl victory in team history, we will look back fondly at an hour-long, private meeting between Brittany Bowlen and Paton.

And the room where it happened? Mr. B’s old office, which stands like a shrine to excellence at Broncos headquarters.

“They went into Pat’s office to talk,” team CEO Joe Ellis told me Wednesday. “I thought that was the best place where they could get a sense of history of the team and its success through Pat’s influence.”

This is a peek inside the story of how George met Brittany. And, just maybe, it was the beginning of a business partnership between the two most important people that will shape the team’s fortunes for the next six years … and beyond.

As Paton began to emerge among five finalists as the leading candidate to replace John Elway as general manager, Ellis suggested the longtime front-office executive with the Minnesota Vikings meet Brittany. The reason? Simple.

“If the team stays in the Bowlen family,” Ellis told Paton, “it’s going to be Brittany as the owner.”

During 14 years with the Vikings, Paton was involved in the acquisition of big-time talent, from drafting Stefon Diggs to trading for Jared Allen. But he has never been the main man to shape a championship contender. So I think it’s fair to frankly wonder:

Will Paton have the guts to tell John Elway: “No!”

Although Elway, who has defined everything orange and blue in Denver since 1983, insists he’s itching to be a grandpa that plays golf and enjoys the best breakfast that $40 — yes, 40 American dollars — can buy at his namesake restaurant, I admit to trepidation that Old. No. 7 won’t be the retiring type when big decisions are made regarding the Broncos.

Did Paton get this job by telling Elway what he wanted to hear?

Well, this is how we will begin to unravel that mystery: Even a knucklehead like me knows that it’s time for the team to move on from running back Melvin Gordon and cornerback A.J. Bouye, both bad Elway ideas.

But if Drew Lock is the starting quarterback for the 2021 season-opener and linebacker Von Miller is lined up opposite Bradley Chubb on the team’s first defensive snap, it will be pretty obvious the most imaginative idea Paton has in mind for his first 12 months on the job is to get the Vonster healthy and basically run it all back from the 5-11 debacle of last season.

Although she kept close tabs on the hiring process, Brittany was not an active participant during formal interviews. In retrospect, however, the impromptu confab with Paton in her father’s …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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