Sean Pendergast

2015 NFL Fantasy Crime League Update: Denver Broncos Owner's Son Arrested for Domestic Assault

With the usual slew of offseason player arrests (admittedly a smaller slew than in years past), we forget that crime in the NFL can happen at any level. It's not a plague that's exclusive to those employees who make their livings on the field. Front-office personnel misstep, too. The most high-profile example since the advent of my NFL Offseason Fantasy Crime League was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay when he was suspended six games last season for a DUI arrest.

The most prolific front office in the arrest department in recent years has been the Denver Broncos'. Two years ago, within a week of each other, they had two front-office employees (Matt Russell and Tom Heckert) arrested for DUI while driving around the Denver area. Those situations were embarrassing for both men and for the team.

The focus of the league's conduct policy and the revisions that it underwent within the past few months center on domestic violence, so how must the Broncos' organization feel that they've had another front-office employee arrested, this time for domestic assault? And how must it feel when that employee is none other than the son of the owner, the one child out of owner Pat Bowlen's seven that people seem to think is the true heir apparent to his father's duties?

So meet John Bowlen, the 29-year-old son of Pat Bowlen and the Corporate Partnerships Coordinator for the Broncos. 

Last Wednesday, according to the police report, John Bowlen, under the influence of alcohol and "whippets" (slang for nitrous oxide), was involved in an incident with his now former girlfriend. The two had been dating for around ten months, and that night they were inside John's apartment when he began acting strange and "shoved her against the wall." Eventually, the police arrived and took John Bowlen into custody for third degree assault and harassment. 

The arrest is the outcome of the incident, but the truly bizarre part of the whole thing was the 9-1-1 call, in which Bowlen's girlfriend makes the original phone call only to have Bowlen hang up the phone. Shortly thereafter, 9-1-1 called the number that the original call came from and that's where it got weird. Here is the 9-1-1 call in its entirety.

So if you're scoring at home, note the following:

1. John Bowlen answered the phone as if he were a voice-mail inbox. Like he answered the phone by voicing a faux voice-mail greeting. It was an intriguing move. Maybe he was just hoping the 9-1-1 operator would do what we all do when we get voice mail calling someone — hang up the phone because nobody returns voice-mail messages anymore. (Texts, baby!)

2. Bowlen's name-drop game is spot-on. He mentioned the mayor of Denver, other city higher-ups, and even goes so far as to call himself the "blood of the city." Somebody has a pretty high opinion of his spot on the Denver landscape!

3. I'm sure the Broncos and the NFL are thrilled that Bowlen is wearing a Denver Broncos T-shirt in his mugshot. Branding, yo. 

The Denver Broncos have released a statement: "We are disappointed to learn of the matter involving John Bowlen ... . While this is a personal issue, he is accountable to all club and league conduct policies. As such, John will be placed on an indefinite leave of absence from the organization." On a serious note, Bowlen's father is in the middle of a battle with Alzheimer's, so who knows how well or how poorly John Bowlen is adapting to that reality. Evidence seems to indicate that he's having issues.

The incident puts Denver on the board for three points in the FCL, good enough for a tie for fourth place.


* 2/3/15: Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson is arrested for assault.
* 2/5/15: Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw is charged with marijuana possession.
* 4/17/15: Lions OL Rodney Austin is arrested for assault on a female, assault on a child under 12, interference with emergency communications, and misdemeanor larceny (assuming three felonies and one misdemeanor here)

* 3/1/15: Ravens DB Victor Hampton is arrested for DWI.
* 3/18/15: Ravens RB Bernard Pierce is arrested for DUI.

* 2/3/15: Packers DT Letroy Guion is arrested for felony possession of marijuana and felony possession of a firearm.

* 5/29/15: Falcons LB Prince Shembo is arrested for felony animal cruelty.

CHICAGO BEARS .. 3 points
* 5/25/15: Bears DL Ray McDonald reportedly is arrested on charges of domestic violence.

DENVER BRONCOS .. 3 points
* 6/3/15: Broncos administrative employee John Bowlen is arrested on domestic violence charges.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers .. 3 points
* 3/5/15: 49ers FB Bruce Miller is arrested for spousal battery.

DALLAS COWBOYS ... 1 point
* 2/3/15: Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is cited for marijuana (unclear if it's a misdemeanor or just a citation, so FCL scoring is pending)

* 3/29/15: Saints CB Brian Dixon is arrested for resisting arrest without violence.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast