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Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to step down in wake of illness

Stricken with Alzheimer's disease, Bowlen, at the head of the Broncos for the last 30 years, relinquishes control to team president Joe Ellis.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC is going through more than its share of loss. With the passing of longtime owners Al Davis, Ralph Wilson and Bud Adams in the last few years, it must take on a new face again.

Pat Bowlen, the man who led the Denver Broncos to six Super Bowl appearances and two championships in his 30 years at the helm, will step down, according to the Denver Post, to fight Alzheimer's disease.

His wife, Annabel, released a statement to the Denver Post.

"As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer's disease for the last few years," Annabel Bowlen said in a statement. "He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, 'It's not about me.'

"Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner. My family is deeply saddened that Pat's health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition."

Along with the selling of the Jacksonville Jaguars, five teams (nearly one third) of the AFC have had a new owner in the last three years. Under Bowlen, the Broncos have had five losing seasons since 1984.

Bowlen's Broncos have the third-best winning percentage against the Steelers of teams still in operation. Denver is 14-7-1 against Pittsburgh, including 4-3 in the playoffs. Denver is 12-6 against Pittsburgh, including the playoffs, since Bowlen and his family took over in 1984. The Steelers are 0-3 in the postseason against Bowlen's Broncos.