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Paul Tagliabue: Pat Bowlen is one of the top five owners in league history

Mike Florio looks back at the influence longtime Broncos owner Pat Bowlen leaves behind around the NFL.

Pat Bowlen will receive much praise, as he should, in the coming days. No praise will be higher than that given by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“Pat Bowlen and I spent a great deal of time together during my 17 years as Commissioner,” Tagliabue said in a statement issued Friday. “He volunteered on more than a dozen League Committees so we often had meetings in our New York office during the day and then enjoyed dinner conversation at night revolving around our families and his love for the Broncos, their fans and their players.

“Pat was an extraordinary leader and open-minded consensus builder. I have long considered Pat one of the top five NFL owners in league history.”

The NFL has had many owners over the years, and many of them have done an excellent job. For someone who spent 17 years as Commissioner (and who knows plenty of owners) to put Bowlen in that category says a lot about who Bowlen was, and what he did for the league.

Currently, the league could use more open-minded consensus builders right now. (The country could, too.) Here’s hoping these memories of Bowlen will stir others to emulate the qualities that made Bowlen who he was.