How the Denver Broncos are winning off the football field

Jun 1, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Members of the Denver Broncos huddle during organized team activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Members of the Denver Broncos huddle during organized team activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

On Monday, it was announced that Joe Ellis and the Denver Broncos will receive the 2021 Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award.

"Joe Ellis and the Denver Broncos demonstrate, time and again, that their family and team extend to the city and state. This past year, we have seen the most challenging of times, and Joe and the Broncos have helped lead the way in healing and unifying our communityMizel Institute founder Larry Mizel (via"

It is not the first time in 2021 that the Denver Broncos have been recognized for their outstanding community service. The Broncos were also 2021 finalists for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year award, the only NFL finalist.

Once again, the Broncos were applauded for their community contributions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the team donated over $1 million toward COVID relief efforts. Not only did the organization donate money, but players spent time video chatting with patients in children’s hospitals as they were prevented from in-person visits.

Not only were the Denver Broncos supporting those who needed it in the midst of the unknown due to the virus, but the team also played an instrumental role in battling social injustices throughout the country. The players established several campaigns, such as the “Inspire Change” and the “We Stand For” campaign, both providing resources, and educational opportunities to promote changes and promote awareness for causes of social justice (via Denver Broncos).

Just the two of these honors in a single offseason speaks volumes about the standards of the organization and its commitment to community service. Though the Broncos have fallen short on the field in recent seasons, late owner Pat Bowlen, a philanthropist himself, would be proud of the off-field success that the team has found, and the standard it has set for incoming players and expectations to be a Denver Bronco–a willingness to give back to your community.

In fact, Joe Ellis is not the first member of the organization to receive the Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award. Bowlen himself was the recipient in 2013, and former general manager and HOF QB John Elway was presented with the honor in 2017.

Overall, Ellis and the team are clearly doing something right in their off-field activity, as they carry on the torch of community service and improving programs within the city that they call home.

Another large success the Denver Broncos found this season was their trailblazing hire of director of football operations/adviser Kelly Kleine. The Broncos set an important long-overdue precedent in the league by making Kleine the highest-ranked female scouting executive in NFL history, as Kleine is just 30 years old.

Following last year’s hiring of strength coach Emily Zaler, it is clear that the Denver Broncos acknowledge that much of the future of football is female, and, once again, the Broncos are paving the way for other franchises with their progressiveness.

With the team’s community involvement and fan-friendly atmosphere, the Denver Broncos have established themselves as one of the most ethically sound teams in the franchise. Overall, not only did this team have a collectively successful offseason on the field, the program was wildly successful in its community outreach.

Perhaps this success will impact the team’s performance in 2021. Perhaps the team’s emphasis on philanthropy will make Denver an attractive destination for free agents. Either way, there is no denying that character and integrity are a vital component in what the Denver Broncos are working to build right now, both on and off of the field.