On Jan. 25, 1998, Littleton residents Sandy and David Alexander were sitting at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego as they witnessed the Denver Broncos win the franchise's first Super Bowl. Following the game, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen handed over the Lombardi Trophy, awarded to Super Bowl winners, to quarterback John Elway, saying “This one is for John.”
Following the Broncos' Super Bowl victory in 2016, Elway, now general manager and president of football operations for the team, held the Lombardi Trophy and said, “This one is for Pat.”
Bowlen, who had been fighting Alzheimer's disease, died on June 13 at the age of 75. On June 18, there was a free, open-house tribute at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. More than 5,000 people came to the tribute to honor the life of Bowlen. The team had artifacts on display, including Bowlen's fur coat, the team's Lombardi trophies, game balls and more.
“He gave us a winning team that we didn't have before. He put together some of the best teams we've ever had,” said David Alexander, who has had season tickets for Broncos games for 45 years with Sandy.
Outside of football, Bowlen made significant contributions to the Denver Boys & Girls Club and donated more than $35 million to charitable organizations in Denver since 1993.
“He was a real gentleman to everyone," Sandy Alexander said. "We've been around the Broncos for years and he was just an upstanding man, and it was hard to see what happened to him."
Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3 along with former Denver Broncos player Champ Bailey.
“It feels like someone I had met died," Denver resident Hugo Ramirez said. "He meant so much to this community and to this city."
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