As far as months go, John Elway has had better. First, there was the gut wrenching playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens when the Denver Broncos were favored by many to win the Super Bowl. Then on Monday, the Vice-President of Football Operations for the Broncos finished second in the voting for Executive of the Year by one vote. Ryan Grigson of the Indianapolis Colts won the award; he got nine votes to Elway’s eight. The voting is done by executives around the league.
With all due respect to Grigson, who did a great job with the Colts, the voters got this one wrong. The argument against Elway was that all he did was sign Peyton Manning which is far from accurate. Even if it was true, however, the argument could also be made that all Grigson did was draft Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft.
Back to Elway – the job he’s done in rebuilding the Broncos has been nothing short of amazing. He took a 4-12 team to 8-8, then to 13-3 and back-to-back playoff appearances. No executive in history has led a team to that large of an improvement over his first two seasons. Yes, Manning was the crown jewel, but there is so much more to the story.
Elway has overseen two solid drafts, signed countless free agents who have contributed and fixed the locker room. As bad as the play was on the field in 2010 under Josh McDaniels, the bigger issue was the attitude at Dove Valley. Elway set out to fix the chemistry, and now the Broncos have one of the best locker rooms in the league. When asked recently what he was most proud of through his first two years on the job, Elway did not say signing Manning or making the playoffs. He said, “Fixing the locker room, it was a mess.”
If you asked Elway, he would tell you that the loss to the Ravens hurt a lot more than finishing second in the Executive of the Year voting. This much is true; though, no one will be happier to see February than John Elway.
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