The ruthless, winning ways of Denver Broncos GM John Elway
Denver Broncos GM John Elway has shown he will do whatever it takes to keep the Broncos winning, no matter what you think…
Bring up the name John Elway to any Denver Broncos fan and ask what they remember most from his playing days and most will tell you it was his will to win.
The original captain of fourth quarter comeback, no game ever felt like it was out of reach with number seven on the field. His determination and willingness to do whatever it took to win was evident from the beginning of his career all the way to the end. The Drive is still part of NFL lore. The Helicopter play still stands as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history and an iconic symbol of the tenacity of one of the NFL’s all-time greats.
As an executive for the Denver Broncos, none of that has changed.
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On January 5, 2011, Elway was named executive vice president of football operations of the Broncos, with the final say in all football matters. The Denver Broncos were coming off of a disaster of a season finishing 4-12, their lowest win total in a full non-strike season since 1971. His first moves included firing Josh McDaniels, hiring a steady veteran head coach in John Fox and drafting Von Miller.
The Broncos would win their first of five straight AFC West titles that year despite a non-existent passing game led by Tim Tebow. In the first round of the playoffs, Denver shocked the favored Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime sending Tebow-mania into full-blown delirium. That off-season would give Broncos fans a taste of how shrewd of a front office executive Elway could be.
On March 21, 2012 Elway shocked most in the NFL world by seemingly coming out of nowhere to sign 4-time MVP Peyton Manning to quarterback the Denver Broncos. During the introductory press conference Elway famously proclaimed “There is no Plan B” in regards to the plan with Manning. The following day it was announced Denver was trading fan favorite and playoff hero Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.
During the next three seasons Denver would rattle off 38 wins, 3 AFC West titles, a Super Bowl appearance and lay claim to the most prolific offense in NFL history, scoring 606 points during the 2013 season. Most people would consider this a success.
After losing in the divisional round three times in four seasons under John Fox, Elway fired Fox and his 46 regular season wins and 4 AFC West titles and immediately brought in close friend and former teammate, Gary Kubiak.
Their first season together led to a 12-4 record, a fifth consecutive AFC West title, number one seed in the playoffs and a victory in Super Bowl 50. However, following a disappointing 2016 season that saw the Denver Broncos finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs it was clear changes were coming.
Elway made it clear that he wanted changes on the offensive side of the ball. After Gary Kubiak announced he would be stepping down due to health reasons, whole sale changes came to the entire coaching staff. New reports are surfacing now saying that the reason Kubiak stepped down may have actually had nothing to do with health at all and had more to do with Elway wanting coaches fired who Kubiak felt loyal to. Whether it’s true or not we may never know. But it certainly adds another wrinkle to the story of John Elway the executive.
A lot of changes have already happened this off-season and there are plenty more on the horizon. However one thing Broncos Country can count on is that John Elway will do absolutely everything he can to add another Lombardi Trophy to the team trophy case.