The Walton-Penner game plan is straight out of the Pat Bowlen playbook
Aug 10, 2022, 2:10 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2022, 7:35 am
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
Ever since it became clear that a transition in ownership of the Broncos would be happening, there have been questions about how the new leadership team would run the organization. It would bring a massive change atop one of the most-important entities in the state of Colorado, causing more than a little bit of consternation amongst the fan base.
Would the new ownership group run things like Pat Bowlen and his family did for 38 years? Would they be more hands on, akin to how Jerry Jones handles his business with the Cowboys? Or would they operate things from afar, similar to how Stan Kroenke conducts business with the Avalanche and Nuggets?
There isn’t a right way and a wrong way, per se. All of those organizations have had various degrees of success under those leadership groups. But most people in Broncos Country would prefer to see the Bowlen way continue. After all, the team had a lot of success from the time he purchased the team in 1984 to the end of the family’s era with the organization yesterday.
On Wednesday, that answer became a little clearer. When the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group (WPFOG) met the Denver media for the first time, they laid out a vision for the organization that is very much in line with how Bowlen ran the team.
First, they put an emphasis on winning. All five members of the group – Robson Walton, Carrie Walton-Penner, Mellody Hobson, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Greg Penner – spoke about the team’s focus on winning championships.
“Our No. 1 priority is putting a winning football team on the field to win Super Bowls for Broncos Country,” Walton said in his opening remarks.
Second, they spoke about providing the team with tools necessary to compete at that level.
“We’ve got to make sure we have the resources, and that comes in a number of different ways, to support (the football staff),” Penner said.
In addition, the team’s new CEO explained that the Broncos will be his top priority, despite the fact that he’s still the chairman of the board at Walmart.
“This is a very high priority,” Penner said about his new job. “I’ll give it the time and energy that it needs.”
And finally, they talked about empowering the football side of the operation to handle that piece of the business.
“We’re big believers in empowering people,” Penner added. “We love football, but we’re not going to be calling plays or or drafting players. We’re going to empower the team led by George Paton and Nathaniel Hackett to make those key decisions. They’re going to make the football decisions.”
That’s nearly a carbon copy of how Bowlen went about things. He loved football and was aware of everything that was happening on that side of the building, but he didn’t make draft-day decisions, like Jones does in Dallas. Instead, he hired good people, set high expectations and held them accountable for the results produced.
By the sounds of things on Wednesday, that’s exactly what the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group is going to do, as well.