Broncos Condoleezza Rice Football (copy)

FILE - Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gestures while speaking at the NFL Women's Summit, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been added to the new Broncos ownership group. Rob Walton announced the inclusion of Rice in a statement issued Monday, July 11, 2022, on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group.

The new illustrious associate of the Broncos' ownership collaborative ensemble once was engaged to the team's greatest combination returner-receiver-running back.

He was selected to four Pro Bowls and two NFL All-Decade teams in the 1970s and '80s. She was United States national security advisor from 2001-2005, then the first African American woman secretary of state for four years.

Condoleezza Rice and Rick Upchurch became amazing achievers.

Perhaps they will meet again this season at Mile High.

Stadium suite 200 — The Walton Family and Friends luxurious box, with marble finishes and a private elevator to the field, on the 50-yard line of the second level's west side — could get crowded this season, especially on Thursday night, Oct. 6, when the Broncos play the Colts.

Rob Walton, who will become the Broncos' majority owner and the richest owner in the NFL, will be joined by his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and her husband Greg Penner (Walmart chairman) — who are expected to be the franchise's top two executives — and Rob's wife Melani, a former All-American basketball player, and his sons Ben (and wife Lucy) and Sam (named after the founder of Walmart), who have been long-time Colorado residents. Also in the room that evening will be several other Walton relatives, as well as minority partner Mellody Hobson, her husband George Lucas and their son Everest Hobson Lucas, and the latest addition to the ownership group — Rice, who moved to Denver at 12, was a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and earned her undergraduate degree and a doctorate from the University of Denver.

Most likely invited will be another famous family: the Mannings — Peyton, wife Ashley (a part owner of the NBA’s Grizzlies) and twins Mosley and Marshall. Peyton, a former football player for the Broncos and the Colts and current multi-media mogul, is expected to join the ownership collective in an advisory role, not as an active executive. The Broncos are expected to create a diverse board of directors.

Some sweet Star Wars suite!

When the complicated, complex, convoluted terms of the sale are completed in the next month, and the NFL owners officially approve of the transfer of the Broncos from the Bowlen family to the Walton family before the regular season opener in Seattle Sept. 12, the Broncos might become the fifth most valuable NFL team and one of the 12 most valuable sports franchises in the world.

At a worth of $4.65 billion (the purchase price), an increase from the $3.75 billion that Forbes Magazine last estimated the Broncos' value, the team would trail only the Cowboys ($6.5 billion), the Patriots ($5 billion), the Giants ($4.85 billion) and the Rams ($4.8 billion), who are owned by Stan Kroenke from another Walton Wing.

Our Dusty Old Cowtown came remarkably close to losing the Broncos in the early years of the AFL's existence to Atlanta and Phoenix with shaky, unstable ownership and an abysmal team that played in a minor league baseball park and drew fewer than 8,000 in consecutive home games.

The team was worth squadoosh ($0).

Soon O.D.O.C. will be in the same paragraph with The Rich and The Famous — the Cowboys, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Lakers, the Knicks, Real Madrid and Manchester United — particularly when the franchise constructs a new domed palace. The Broncos' purchase price of $4.6 billion by the Waltons — compared to $68 million by the Bowlens in 1984 — was the highest in American sports history and will cause all the NFL boats to rise at least by 15%.

Condoleezza Rice was raised in Alabama by her teacher-football coach father as a fan of the Crimson Tide and the Cleveland Browns.

It was reported in 2018 that Rice would be considered for the Browns' head coaching job, but she and the team dismissed the rumor. She had become the only woman on the first 13-member College Football Playoff Committee, and she was one of the first two women ever invited to become members of Augusta National Golf Club. In Denver she had become a skilled competitive ice skater and tennis player.

And while a student at the University of Denver, Rice dated and briefly became engaged to Broncos' future Ring of Famer Upchurch, but broke off the relationship to concentrate on her career.

Now Upchurch and Rice share a bond with the Broncos.

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