John Elway fought back emotions, voice cracking as he sought to explain what Pat Bowlen meant to the Denver Broncos.
Pat Bowlen through the yearsTake a look back at photos through the years of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.
"What a sad day it is around here," Elway said rawly. "This place will never be the same. I can say at least from the inside out, it will never be the same."
"It's going to be very hard to not see him walk through those front door every day," Elway said breaking up. "He's given me so much, as a player, to be able to play for him...now having worked for him for three years he's given us every opportunity, every resource that he has to be able to put the best football team on the football field and compete for world championships and that is what Pat's all about."
The Broncos have known amazing amounts of success under Bowlen's guidance. Since he took over the team in 1984, only the 49ers have won more games and only the Patriots have gone to more Super Bowls. The highlight of Bowlen's reign was the back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1997 and 1998.
The owner created the Pat Bowlen Trust a decade ago to ensure that ownership of the Broncos will remain in his family, with the hope that one of his seven children will eventually take over.
Team president Joe Ellis will assume control of the organization, but stressed the sprit of the Broncos still belongs to Bowlen.
"It's Pat Bowlen's team," said Ellis. "He's the owner, the trustees are not owners, Pat Bowlen is the owner."