The Elway Institute of Thought: It’s all about the consensus.
Like any Championship caliber athlete, John Elway knows the importance of teamwork. In his first press conference as President of the Football Operations for the Denver Broncos, Elway made it very clear that there will be a strong triangular relationship between himself, GM Brian Xanders, and the new head coach.
Ultimately, Elway will have the upper hand if a consensus between Xanders and the new head coach cannot be reached when evaluating whether or not to keep or sign a particular player or assistant coach.
“The structure will have the head coach and general manager reporting directly to John,” team President Joe Ellis said.
Today is so big in the Broncos organization that even behind the scenes owner Pat Bowlen stepped up to the podium to say a few words.
“I learned a lot from John over the years. I couldn’t be happier to have him here to join the staff of the Denver Broncos,” Bowlen said. “I think John will return this team to a very high level of competiveness, I think we’ll win some more Super Bowls, and I won’t be saying ‘this one’s for John.’ He may be saying ‘this one’s for Pat.’”
As soon as Elway stepped to the podium today, you could see and hear the enthusiasm bubbling over those big pearly whites.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Elway said in the hour long press conference. “I never thought I’d say this, but it is damn nice to see you all,” he added when addressing the large group of reporters in front of his deep blue eyes.
“I’m so excited about it. The Denver Broncos are in my blood, they always have been, and it’s really a thrill to be back.”
If anything, Tim Tebow looks like he’s an apple that hasn’t fallen from Elway’s football-passionate tree. Elway still gets downright excited when he’s at a game.
“Every time I step on the field, my heart gets pumping,” Elway claimed. “My greatest asset is my competitiveness and I’ll give everything I can to return this team to the way it was back in the day when we were winning championships and in the playoffs.”
Elway’s enthusiasm showed on his first day on the job. He arrived at Dove Valley at 7:00 AM this morning, coffee cup in hand, and ready to get to work.
Don’t think the legendary QB was standing around the water-cooler making small talk. He’s already scheduled an interview with Giants’ defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, put in other requests for interviews, and met with all of the Broncos coaching staff to talk.
Elway also met with interim head coach Eric Studesville individually this morning to talk about personnel.
The job for Elway even began before today’s formal announcement was made about his new position with the team. He reported that he met with Brian Xanders for the past three days, letting him know that he will have the full responsibilities of a GM and won’t be in hiding like he had been under Josh McDaniels.
Elway has also been watching film with Xanders for the past few weeks, and made an effort to let Jim Harbaugh of Stanford know that if he’s interested in making the jump to the NFL level as a head coach, the Broncos would consider him.
According to Elway, one of the Broncos main priorities when hiring the new head coach will be making sure that the coach understands the relationship between the team and its fans and the community.
If there’s anyone that can assess that, it’s the Broncos 16-year quarterback.
“I know how important it is for this region and all the Broncos fans out there,” Elway said. “I understand the relationship which is unique to the Denver Broncos over any other team in the NFL, and the fact that the Bronco fans have an emotional connection with the Broncos.”
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that you really kind of felt like you lost that connection with the Broncos and the fans,” Elway said of this past season.
When asked to describe what qualities he’s looking for in a new coach, Elway explained that the new coach has to respect and honor the team’s relationship with its fans.
“He’s [The new coach] got to understand the relationship of the fan connection to the Denver Broncos. He’s got to be able to embrace that for us to be successful. He’s got to be a leader, he’s got to be passionate, and he’s got to be a great competitor. He’s got to have the knowledge of the game.”
Perhaps the most intriguing budding relationship is the one between John Elway and Tim Tebow. Many people think that Tebow is finally the QB that can bring success back to the Broncos organization – the kind of success that the team hasn’t seen since Elway retired in 1998.
“Tim Tebow is a darn good football player. What we’ve got to do is make him a darn good quarterback,” Elway said.
Just like the young quarterback has a lot to learn and develop into, Elway will have a similarly steep learning curve as the VP of Football Operations. To combat the inexperience, Elway is prepared to put in the hours in order to restore Denver Bronco success.
“Time heals a lot of the inexperience and I’m looking forward to spending that time,” Elway said.
The clock is ticking and ears are perked because No. 7 is back in action.
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