By Joe Medina
Number Seven Back At Dove Valley?
Could it be? Could the one man in Denver who is just as well known by a number as he is by his own name be on his way into the offices at Dove Valley? Could No. 7 be shaking the hands of the 2011 draft picks? Would he be a scout? Assistant GM? Team President? What would John Elway’s role be in the organization, if he were to come back? That, my friends, is the million dollar question.
While the question certainly deserves debate, it’s my opinion that “Seven” would be at his best in a position equivalent to middle management in a normal establishment. Elway has a history of owning a football team, but don’t kid yourself - The Colorado Crush’s organization, budget, team and relevance doesn’t even hold a candle to the lowliest NFL franchises. Now, to be fair, it’s not like it’s Elway’s fault the Crush went belly-up. The entire AFL flopped. I just don’t think someone with such little ownership experience should jump in Pat Bowlen’s or Joe Ellis’ seat just yet. On the other hand, if you bring a Denver legend like John Elway into the Broncos organization, he better not be serving coffee to assistants either. I think the perfect spot is somewhere in the middle. Somewhere with plenty of face time (for the fans and press), and enough decision making responsibility that would give him a chance to earn his stripes, so maybe someday, when Mr. Bowlen hangs up the fur coat and decides to retire, someone that values our team’s history can come right in and take over.
What is that position? Well, I don’t know for sure. I suppose, it would have to come down to whether Elway would like to be more on the football side or the office side of the operation. I have no source in the matter, but I do have my personal feelings that if he did come back, he would want to be involved with the team side more than anything.
Could he be our General Manager in five years? That is a great question, and a very valid one. Brian Xanders, while he is very good with the money side of GM-ing, really isn’t that good in the personnel department. And no, Josh McDaniels does not run every facet of the Broncos, like most fans think. The majority of personnel decisions are made either entirely by Xanders, or with very much of Xanders’ input. Any GM that can create TWO first round draft picks out of one like Xanders did in 2010 certainly has value. I just think that if given the right support system, Elway would thrive as someone who could perform the duties of a GM. That phrase, “support system,” is going to be the buzz word of the week.
My point is this: John Elway needs to be back with this organization. For years, he wasn’t welcome in the front office by Mike Shanahan. That much has been made very public by Elway himself. He and Shanahan could not coexist in that way, and since Shanny had all the power, it just wasn’t going to happen for Elway. Things have changed now; we are seeing a new regime that seems to thrive on our team’s rich history. Josh McDaniels loves the orange uniforms (Shanahan hated them, by the way.) John Elway has been to Dove Valley more in the past 23 months than he had in the 10 years since his retirement. For the first time in such a long time, it feels like the team culture is embracing the past while blasting full speed ahead to the future.
I think John Elway deserves a spot on that ship.
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