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Gut Reaction: Walton-Penner Group Agrees to Buy Broncos for $4.65 Billion

What does the long-awaited sale of the Broncos mean for the team?
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For several years, Denver Broncos fans have wondered what would happen to the team after it was placed in an ownership trust when the late Pat Bowlen's health took a turn for the worse.

After Bowlen passed away three years ago, the team's status remained up in the air. The Bowlen family, after a lengthy legal process, ultimately decided to sell the team.

Now, an ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner has emerged victorious in the auction, agreeing to purchase the Broncos.

Some Broncos fans wondered whether Walton purchasing the team was the best thing for the Broncos. Between Walton's age and some people not liking the way Walmart runs business operations, it raised questions about whether the Broncos might be better off with somebody else owning the team.

Others have speculated that, because Walton put up the highest bid for the team at $4.65 billion, it translates to an owner with deep pockets who can pay the most for players.

Not everyone may be a fan of Walmart as a company, but the same could be said for any corporation a sports team owner is involved with — and there are fair criticisms of those entities. However, what matters is whether a team owner allows the people hired to do their jobs.

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What made Bowlen a great owner was not just the fact the Broncos had so much success during his ownership reign. He was a great owner, and the Broncos succeeded, because he allowed the people he hired to do their jobs.

Bowlen didn't micromanage operations and, while he wanted players to be happy playing for the Broncos, didn't let them undermine coaches or front office personnel. He made sure he was the one evaluating those people and making decisions about whether or not they should be retained.

While having an owner with deep pockets might be perceived as a big deal, it doesn't always translate into on-field success. Teams still have to manage a salary cap and, furthermore, paying the most money to a player doesn't always equal championships.

The best owners are those who allow the people they hire to do their jobs, evaluate them accordingly, and make sure they have the resources when it is necessary. They will not be perfect, but they will do their best to find the right people to bring success to the team.

One thing about Walton is that he is known for keeping a low profile. That's a good thing, because you don't want an owner who makes everything about himself.

Remember that Bowlen didn't make the Broncos about himself. Walton preferring to keep a low profile likely indicates he will do the same.

As for Walton's age, the plan appears to be to let his daughter and son-in-law be involved with the day-to-day operations. Additionally, Mellody Hobson, who will have an ownership stake in the team, could potentially be involved there as well.

Having three people who are younger and have had success in the business world is a good thing for the Broncos because the team should have, for years to come, individuals who understand the basics of a business operation.

Running a footbal team, of course, isn't exactly the same as running other types of businesses, but one thing remains the same: Whoever owns the business should find the best people to run it.

As long as the Broncos' new owners are professional in their positions, let those who run the team do the work and evaluate them based on that work, the Broncos should be fine.

And with the new owners in place, fans no longer have to wonder about who is in charge. Instead, Broncos Country can focus more on the upcoming season — for which there is plenty of excitement about what's new, from head coach Nathaniel Hackett to quarterback Russell Wilson.

I wish nothing but the best to the new owners of the Broncos. Now, here's to the 2022 season and the hope that the Broncos will return to the playoffs.

Follow Bob on Twitter @BobMorrisSports.

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