Thousands of Broncos fans pay tribute to Bowlen

FILE PHOTO: Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen speaks about firing his head coach Mike Shanahan at Broncos headquarters in Denver December 31, 2008. Shanahan was fired as the head coach December 30. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

More than 5,000 Denver Broncos fans attended owner Pat Bowlen’s memorial service on Tuesday, according to the team.

Bowlen died last week at age 75 after a fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The team hosted a public memorial service at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, where fans walked past photos and memorabilia from Bowlen’s life and watched a video tribute in his honor.

Former Broncos players such as John Elway, Rod Smith and Peyton Manning also attended the service. Bowlen posthumously will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August.

Beth Bowlen Wallace thanked fans and friends for sharing stories about her father and his impact on the community.

“It’s been very comforting,” Bowlen Wallace said. “It’s been an overwhelming time emotionally for all of us, but to see the fans and to see the players and the staff that have come through has brought great comfort because we realize, which we already did, it just solidifies how much my father meant to this community. It’s mirrored back to them how much this community meant to my father.”

Brittany Bowlen said her father might not have believed the public response.

“He’d be incredibly overwhelmed by all of the support and love,” she said. “And there would definitely be a small part of him that would be like, ‘What the heck?’

“It’s pretty astonishing to see all of these artifacts and things that were important to him in life and meet all of these people that truly loved him. I think he’d be really incredibly overwhelmed by the support. I think it would be moving for him. It really would.”

—Field Level Media

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