The story your about to read unfolds upstairs at the headquarters of the Denver Broncos, and it has to do with who the Broncos will try to pick in the first round of the draft. John Elway has been down the hall from his office in the War Room since early morning setting up the Broncos big-board, when he picks up the phone and calls head coach John Fox.
(John Fox): Yeah? (John Elway): Hey Foxy, come on down and join me in the War Room. (Foxy): Righty John, I'll be right there, let me finish my sandwich first? (phones hang up) Foxy heads out the door and down the hall still chewing on the last bite of his egg salad sandwich, and swallows it as he opens the door. As he enters the room (still removing stuck pieces of bread from his teeth with his tongue), he stops dead in his tracks raises his hands up and says -"What the hell is going in here!?!" Elway looks up in Foxy's direction and says - "Hey Foxy, come on over here, I wanta show you something".
Foxy strolls slowly over and the around the big table in the middle of the room that extends to the side wall, and while scratching his head says, "Where'd you get this thing at?!?" (Elway with his big shining teeth grin): "Ain't she a beauty?" "She's a Santa Fe Super Chief Passenger diesel "O" gauge I bought from Lionel." (Foxy): "I know what it is John, but I thought we were supposed to work on the draft?" (Elway): We will, we will, but I thought this would be cool to play with when we get stressed out like we did last week". (Foxy sighs and remembers the furniture being thrown out of the windows and the pictures stuck in the walls across the hall from his office) - "Yeah John, that was one day I never want to see again", said Foxy. (Elway): "Don't those mountains against the wall look like the front range (Elway's hand motions across and points)? And, down there on the left is Pikes Peak." (Foxy): Yeah, yeah, I get that, but look John, I've got a lot of work to do. I was going over runningbacks game tapes when you called".
All the while Foxy is talking, John is stooped over, looking intently at the train station set-up that looks similar to the one in downtown Denver. Not even paying attention to what Foxy just said, Elway lets out a "Choo Choo", pumping his fist up and down. For a few moments there, Elway was lost in distant memory of Super Bowls past. With Foxy muttering to himself, Elway looks up (but still stooped over the set), and says to Foxy, "Foxy, come over here and look at this!" Fox siddles around the set and strolls up to, and stands over Elway, looking down at what he thinks Elway is looking at. "Um-Hmm", says Foxy "that's nice" (Elway): Yeah, but do you see the guy right there in the black and white striped shirt standing by the light pole?" "Yeah John", Foxy said. Foxy shrugs his shoulder slightly and say - "It looks like a referee?" (Elway): "That's not just any referee, Foxy, that's Ed Hochuli!" Foxy clears his throat - "Uh uh hmm".
The trip to San Diego
"You know Foxy, I remember it just like it all happened yesterday, ", John said. "Remember what, John", Fox said? (Elway): "There we were, smack-dab in beautiful southern California, taking in all the moments getting ready for the big show. The interviews...the people...the cameras...it was like a dream world that couldn't or wouldn't end. Although we were nervous taking on the Packers, knowing they had a great team coming of their championship year, but there seemed to be an aura that shined all around us everywhere we went.
There was something special about that evening in San Diego that's hard to explain, but I knew we were going to be great". "Yes sir", John said, "good old Ed Hochuli was in charge that night, and his crew did a good job (Foxy rolls his eyes) that night, and let us play football.(Foxy): John, I've got an idea of how we can approach this thing (the draft board)." "You know, I've been think..." (John): Foxy, you know what they called us? They said we were the smallest offensive line in the league!"
Elway, humming to himself, rearranges some of the miniature people and cars around on the set, when Foxy asks -
"John, where does that tunnel go(pointing to the hole in the mountain scenary)? And, that one down there (pointing across to where Pike Peak is)?" (Elway): "Oh yeah, they go into the next room over there where Chris is." (Foxy): "Chris?" (Elway): You know, Chris Beake, our new defensive assistant. He will be running the train from that side...and, Oh yeah!, I forgot to tell you about the 'bobbing-head' dolls I had made up." (Foxy): "Bobbing-head dolls?"
(Elway): "Yep!" (Adjusting a section of the track while talking) "I had them made up of every kid that was at the Combines in Indy, with their team jersey on. I told the kids that I was doing it because of the new 'psychological test' I helped get developed. Then I got this idea that we could use them in our making of the Big Board." "You see, Chris in there will send a player out on a flat car, and as soon as the train comes out from under the tunnel, a hologram will pop up in the middle (pointing to the center of the set) of the set with all the players measurements, stats, and any information we need. How cool is that?" "And, when it does that, the projector on the ceiling shows all of his plays during his last year." (Foxy): That's incredible, your a damn genius, John! They ought to make you owner some day! (All the while thinking to himself that he has lost his rocker)" (Elway): "Why thanks, John, I appreciate that."
"Do you know why they called us small, John?"
"Those guys (Zimmerman, Stinky, Nalen, Habib, and Jones) would 'slice and dice' you, and if they were to walk by you and weren't looking at you, you could be pretty sure they were talking about you. They were all over 30 except for Tom, he was 26, but they were all married and had families. Boy, they would rag on TD because he was a up and coming superstar. Eddie Mac once told me that - "They don't talk to me often, and when they do, I'm not really sure what they're talking about,"...And then he went on to say - "You almost feel guilty even venturing into their area." We'd laugh about that then. They were a group...(Elway looks back down at the set tinkering with the pieces and chuckles lowly)... You know, they used to get onto Tony (Jones) about his flashy wardrobe, he was always looking sharp...
(Elway pauses for a moment and leans over and looks through the tunnel) Hey, Chris how you doing in in there? You about ready? (Foxy): "Ready for what? (Elway biting his lip while thinking, looks up at Foxy) "Huh?" (Foxy): "What are you asking him if he's ready for?" (Elway): "Uh, to make a test run with the train, he runs it from in there." (Foxy shaking a little, says): Yeah, you told me that John, a while ago, but it's almost 4 o'clock. Are we going to get any work done?" (Elway): "You remember ol' Gary don't ya?" (Foxy): "Zimmerman? yeah, I know him, what about him?"
(Elway): "You knew he retired after the '96 season don't you?" (Foxy): "I thought he was with the team to the Super Bowl Wins?" (Elway): "Yeah, he retired after the '96 season to go ride his motorcycle to Sturgis, South Dakota for the rally up there. He knew Shanny wouldn't let him go because of training camp, and he was bound and determined to make the trip that year. As soon as he rejoined the Broncos, he was immediately fined $8,000 by the kangaroo court: $5,000 for skipping camp, $2,000 for being a prima donna (he received extensive media coverage) and $1,000 because popular backup Scott Adams was released to clear a roster spot." (Foxy and Elway both start laughing out loud).
(Elway): Chris if your ready, send her out?" (Chris with a faint voice)... "Ok John, there she goes"...(Elway to Foxy): "He's a nice kid, you know?" (Foxy): "Yeah, he seems like it. Who we going to evaluate first (looking at his watch?" (Elway noticing Foxy looking at his watch say): "What time is it, John?"..."6:45", Foxy said. Elway stretches his arms up in the air and then whirls to see the train come through the tunnel straight for them. Elway put's one hand on his hip and the other on his chin watching and grinning from ear to ear while Foxy stands with his shoulders slouched and his hands in his pockets. As the train makes it's way around track snorting out real like smoke from it's stacks, Elway yawns and says - "Well Foxy, let go home. We'll get started on the Big Board tomorrow afternoon." "Shut her down, Chris, we're out of here...
Soon everything is shutdown, and the pair are walking down the hall talking...(Foxy): "He (Zimmerman) really did that huh?" "Yeah, he was the practical joker", Elway said. (Foxy): "So John, who we taking at 28?" (Elway): Foxy, pull my finger... (Foxy): "I'm serious now John, who we gettin'?" (Elway lets out gas and grins): "Uh, we're trading back Foxy. Didn't you get the memo?" ... The sound of fading foot steps and the exit door opens and they are gone for the night...