John Elway is woven into the very fabric of the Denver Broncos and the team's lore. 9NEWS' Mike Klis reported on Sunday that Elway will be taking up a new position as an ‘outside consultant' to the very man who replaced him as general manager only last year, George Paton.
Elway occupied Denver's GM position from 2011-20. He stepped down as GM following a disappointing 2020 campaign but remained with the Broncos as president of football operations.
On the face of it, Elway's new consulting role looks very much like a step away from any meaningful influence in the daily internal decision-making. With the Broncos moving towards new ownership, Paton’s powerbase will continue to expand further.
At the very least, Elway could still prove valuable as an experienced sounding board should Paton need one every so often. On the flip side, it’s also conceivable that Elway may be concentrating on his own interests as part of an investment group that will be looking to purchase the team.
Despite delivering a pair of trips to the Super Bowl and one Lombardi Trophy as the team's GM, Broncos Country is largely divided on Elway’s overall front-office legacy, particularly because in recent years, he seemed a lot shakier with player evaluations. His failure to find meaningful answers to the Broncos' pressing questions at quarterback, coupled with the appointment of multiple failed head coaches, only haunted Elway and tarnished his legacy.
Given his more recent failings, you might assume that Paton would be less willing to have an ear for Elway’s opinions, especially because he is now tasked with clearing up the mess. But, for now, Paton appears prepared to keep the franchise icon around while also shrewdly avoiding any negative PR fallout that would come his way if he were to dispense with Elway’s input.
Either way, Elway still has at least some voice within the brain trust at Broncos HQ, even if his once-powerful influence continues to fade. Should the Broncos icon fail to back the right horse in the ownership sweepstakes that are to come, Elway’s previously active role within the franchise will almost certainly be one that is on borrowed time.
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