ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There are times when Denver Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis will ask, when he's faced with a decision, "what would Pat do?"
Just before John Elway and Gary Kubiak talked Tuesday about how the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 and what's to come for the team, Ellis took a few moments to offer what Pat Bowlen would think of the seventh Super Bowl team -- and third title-winner -- since he purchased the team.
"Pat should be here, this is who should be talking to you now," said Ellis of Bowlen, who is battling Alzheimer's disease. "He would tell you that he loved this team, he loved everything that they were about, their resolve and their grit, their determination and the way they finished. He would have been so impressed with that and so pleased and so proud. ... And (Sunday night) he would have said if you were surprised by the outcome today, you shouldn't have been. He would have recognized the great confidence and the preparation, everything Gary and his staff did to get this team ready to play."
The Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos won 11 games this season -- regular season and playoffs combined -- by seven or fewer points, a single-season record, and Ellis termed the team's defensive performance as "historical."
Ellis made his remarks just before the Broncos left for the team's parade and rally in downtown Denver that a mayor's spokesman said was expected to draw "hundreds of thousands" of people.
"I think he would have been overwhelmed with and pleased with the fans," Ellis said. " … Pat, and all of us here, never underestimate that, we never do."
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak had Ellis speak to the Broncos players about Bowlen the day before the team left for California in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Bowlen stepped away from the team's day-to-day operations in the summer of 2014.
Many of the current players have not met Bowlen, who was inducted into the team's Ring of Fame earlier this season.
"The ability and the way to treat his people, the culture that he has created for this organization, the culture of winning and the expectations of competing for world championships, that is what he wants," said Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway. "I think that as a player and as an employee now, that you can't ask for anything else. It starts at the top with the owner, with the guy that is making everything happen. You can't be in a better situation to be competitive and again trying to compete for world championships."
"I think Mr. Bowlen is a leader of people," Kubiak said. "For me to be gone from this organization and come back 10 years later and see so many of the same people still in place, still in this building, still working and still contributing, and then even now with Mr. B not here on a regular basis, his presence is here every day -- what he stood for, what he wants his people and this organization to stand for, just a tremendous leader."