Today marks the start of a new period in history for the Denver Broncos, as Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway begins his hopeful transition into a successful football executive. Elway and the Broncos have inked an official contract, making him the executive vice president of football operations, a role that gives him considerable control in running the team. Elway tells The Denver Post’s Woody Paige he’s ready to go: “This is all I’ve really wanted to do since I retired as a player. Football has been my life. I’ve waited for years, but the timing is perfect. The stars are aligned.” Elway’s positive outlook aside, he’s got a lot to do. The Broncos are coming off the worst season in franchise history and have holes at every level of the organization.
The first step will be hiring a head coach. Elway, team chief operating officer Joe Ellis, and general manager Brian Xanders will work on that from the get-go, interviewing interim coach Eric Studesville and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey this week. In the days following, the team will try to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. While Elway was in Miami watching his alma mater, Stanford, win the Orange Bowl, he intended to convince Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh to move to Denver for the open position. But Harbaugh was too busy to talk, and it doesn’t look like he’ll pan out for the Broncos.
Elway has his work cut out for him, as he tries to avoid succumbing to the trend of star athletes becoming sub-par executives. The Post points out in a separate article that the small club of players-turned-execs hasn’t done so well. Dan Marino, of the Miami Dolphins, quit after just three weeks, and Matt Millen ran the Detroit Lions into the ground.