Beth Bowlen Wallace released a statement last week saying a transition of ownership of the team is necessary.
A statement issued by Beth Bowlen Wallace, the second-oldest daughter of late Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen from his first marriage, hinted that the team should transition to new ownership.
The statement came just days after the Broncos were forced to play a game against the New Orleans Saints without a starting quarterback due to COVID-19 violations. Undrafted rookie practice squad wide reciver Kendall Hinton stepped in at the last minute to fill in at quarterback in the 31-3 loss on November 29. Some local sports media pundits speculated that the unprecedented situation, along with several lackluster seasons, is a symptom of a lack of leadership within the organization.
"Watching these past few seasons has been extremely painful and we continue to see no other way to restore the franchise but through a transition of ownership of the Denver Broncos," Bowlen Wallace's statement said. She went on to say her father, who bought the Broncos in 1984, would never have accepted the team's current state. Under Bowlen's leadership, the Broncos were one of the most consistently competitive teams in the National Football League, winning seven AFC championships and three Super Bowl rings.
Beth Bowlen Wallace, Daughter Of Late Pat Bowlen, Calls For Transition Of Broncos Ownership: ‘Watching These Past Few Seasons Has Been Extremely Painful’ https://t.co/vx7GaQ1w7k pic.twitter.com/gxt5EqPwaW— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) December 3, 2020
"Our desire is for this team to be restored to its winning ways and see more Super Bowl championships for Broncos Country," said Bowlen Wallace. "We have been committed to and will continue to pursue resolutions on all issues in order to ensure a smooth and timely transition."
Who will ultimately assume ownership of the Broncos organization—whether one of the Bowlen children takes the reins or the team is ultimately sold to a new owner—has been a question mark hanging over the team since Pat Bowlen died last year after battling Alzheimer's Disease for years. The team is currently under the control of a three-person trust that includes Broncos President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka, and Denver Attorney Mary Kelly.
Brittany Bowlen, one of Pat Bowlen's daughters with his second wife, Annabel Bowlen, has appeared to be the trust's choice to succceed her father, although at 30 years old, she is widely considered to be too young to take over immediately. Even before their father died, Bowlen Wallace and her sister Amie Klemmer filed a lawsuit in 2018 seeking to invalidate the Bowlen Trust, saying Bowlen was already showing signs of Alzheimer's Disease and lacked the mental capacity to make decisions related to the transition of the team as early as 2009. That lawsuit has been repeatedly delayed, most recently until July 2021 due to COVID-19 disruptions.
Hugh Gottschalk, attorney for Annabel Bowlen, who herself is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, responded to the statement saying Bowlen Wallace's views do not represent those of his client or the majority of the beneficiaries.
“Although we strongly disagree with these allegations and believe the estate plan will be upheld at the trial scheduled for July of 2021, any efforts to even consider selling the team before the Trustees’ authority is confirmed is unwise and impractical, and would be contrary to Pat Bowlen’s wishes to have the Bowlen family continue to own the Broncos if one of his children develops the ability to take over the role of controlling owner," said Gottschalk.
Early this year, Ellis indicated all seven of the Bowlen siblings would have to agree to and sign off on Brittany Bowlen taking ownership of the Broncos. If they could not agree, a sale of the team would remain a possibility, he said.