Is the Broncos' mess Pat Bowlen's fault?

Pat Bowlen is frequently referred to as one of the best owners in professional sports -- at least in these parts. But

in a recent item

(dubbed "too short for a column:), he's slapped around plenty by someone who's observed the Broncos closely over the years:

ESPN's Rick Reilly, a Westword profile subject last year

, who still spends a considerable amount of his time in Denver. Reilly notes that the 65-year-old Bowlen recently admitted to "short-term memory loss," then points out that three separate sources have contradicted the owner's claim that Jay Cutler never called him back during the petulant one's squabble with the team earlier this year. The ultimate decision to trade Cutler and rely on what Reilly refers to as a couple of "Salvation Army QBs,"

Kyle Orton and Chris Simms (both of whom are injured right now, making a horrific situation worse)

, "will cost the franchise for years to come," he concludes.

Obviously, there'll be a lot of blame to go around this season. Expect Bowlen to get more than his share.

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