He brings, as Ellis said, “leadership at the very top. I think that that was something we were just missing in terms of our football team. We were missing that at the time that we brought him on.”
When Elway rejoined the Broncos, the team was coming off a 4-12 season, the one in which now-Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was fired after 12 games. Since then, the Broncos have witnessed the rise of Tebow, an overtime playoff win over the Steelers, and the acquisition of Manning.
They also witness an executive with the ability to make a calculated decision about what was best for his franchise, about what was most likely to get his franchise to another Super Bowl. To Elway, that wasn’t Tebow. It was Manning.
“[Elway] might lack some of the experience as far as some of the rules and the financials and all those things, but I think the most important asset is he knows what a championship player looks like and what kind of players we want to bring into this organization and the direction we want it to go,” coach John Fox said.
The Broncos have seen Elway take charge, take risks, take over. It’s what they saw from him as a player. As Fox said, “He’s not afraid to make tough decisions. He’s not afraid to do the things it takes to win a championship. If that’s your definition of a gunslinger, I’d say yes.”
Ellis said, “At the end of the day, he goes with what he believes is a decision that will be in the best interests of our football team. And that’s all it came down to for him. He stuck to his guns, and here we are.”