John Elway ended his Denver Broncos career by walking off into the sunset.
For the better part of two decades, Elway became the most iconic man in Denver sports history, and is the most beloved Broncos player of all time. His name is synonymous with his number seven, and he is a man who bleeds orange.
As much as Broncos fans love Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback returns that love and has a passion for not only the game of football, but also the organization that he put together one of the most outstanding careers with.
What does this mean?
Yes, I am implying that John Elway himself should be given a position of high ranking in the Denver Broncos front office. Now, this is hardly the first time this has been brought to the attention of Broncos fans. After all, Elway has been an owner of a pro sports team, so he knows the business (roughly) and has always maintained an interest in the Broncos, at least to our knowledge.
It is very interesting to me, however, that he's suddenly taken a seemingly renewed interest in the team. Obviously, coach Mike Shanahan is no longer here, the man he won two Super Bowls with. There is really no trace of Elway's Broncos left, so what gives?
Perhaps Elway simply cannot stand to see his Broncos in the shape they are. If you ask Mark Schlereth, he might even be too embarrassed to mention the words "Broncos" and "Football" in the same sentence. If you ask Shannon Sharpe, he doesn't like Josh McDaniels all that much.
Heck, if you asked Mike Shanahan himself, he might be too embarrassed to talk about the mess he left in Denver.
Rod Smith tried to lend a helping hand, coming and talking to Brandon Marshall who proceeded to get benched in his last game as a Bronco, essentially punching his ticket out of town.
But nothing compares to the magnitude of what we shall call "The Elway". The Elway came into Denver before the Chiefs game, gave this team a pep talk, and the Broncos proceeded to lay a vicious beating on their division rivals, who are currently in first place.
Now, I don't know what you would call his role with the team. Obviously, you'd want Elway to have a part in the front office. Perhaps the executive vice president of player personnel would suffice?
The main role I envision for Elway in the offseason would definitely be his recruiting abilities. If you're a prospective free agent, coming to Denver in the summer (picture-esque, but still, clearly a football environment), and John Elway is telling you tales from the days of yester-year, when the Denver Broncos were coming from behind, winning games, winning Lombardi Trophies, and building a reputation as the greatest franchise in professional sports.
How can you not buy into that?
Obviously, Josh McDaniels and company already have some serious recruiting skills. We lured Brian Dawkins away from Philadelphia. We took Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams from the Ravens and Chargers respectively. Andre' Goodman, Renaldo Hill, and Nate Jones all took their talents away from South Beach to come to the Mile High City.
Not only that, but Tim Tebow stated that after his meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine with McDaniels, he didn't want to play for any other team. They hit it off so well.
Give credit to McDaniels, he is a players coach. The guys in the locker room are definitely behind him, and he has lured plenty of free agents away from good teams to play in Denver, a franchise that is clearly rebuilding.
Think of the NFL free agent pool as a recruiting class. If you brought Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders on your recruiting visit, there's already a good chance a deal is getting done. Now add John Elway and Tim Tebow to the mix. It's going to be hard to not come to this team.
Sure, every NFL team has a package they could put together, but the Broncos have never had a living player legend desire the influence and front office position that John Elway desires. Pat Bowlen is a smart man, and the smart thing to do is to bring Elway aboard.
Not only is he going to be effective in the recruiting process, he's going to be a heck of a team Chaplain, or whatever his role as pre-game speaker would be called. Perhaps a Pat Foley type?
"You gotta get back on the RIGHT TRACK, or you be living in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!"
The next move I propose is to bring in Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach (also with a role in the front office).
I know, I know--Phillips was ousted after two years in Denver, so there's bad blood. You want to know how to erase that bad blood?
"Hi, Wade. It's been a while, and I know there are some hard feelings. Tell you what, I'll give you $3 million dollars to be our defensive coordinator. Whaddya say?"
Phillips has experience running a very good 3-4 defense in Dallas, and their coaching staff is about to be gutted. Phillips clearly isn't head coach material, and there would be no power struggle between he and McDaniels. If Wade can focus on the defense, there are no problems, because he's a heck of a defensive coordinator.
The positives also are that the Broncos could add coaches from the Cowboys after they are gutted when the new staff comes in next term. The Broncos are not only in need of a new defensive coordinator, they need a new special teams head man.
It just so happens that Joe DeCamillis was on Phillips' staff in Dallas as well as with the Broncos. He coached in Denver from 1988-1992, so he has Mile High roots dating back to the early-mid Elway days. Many connections there, and from what I've seen, he's done a solid job as the special teams man in Dallas. He's also a Colorado native. Who knew?
The Broncos could also use a new running backs coach. My ideal would be to have none other than Terrell Davis.
The name should give you goosebumps.
If he would have stayed healthy, T.D. would have been the greatest back to play the game. He was powerful, he was elusive, and he was dual-threat, but he lacked elite speed. Did I mention he played running back for the Bulldogs of Georgia?
Sounds like a clone of the guy we have at running back right now. The similarities are eerie. Both men ran in the 4.6 range, both are powerful, quick, and both are effective in the passing game. Davis checked in at 5'11" 210, Moreno checks in at--you guessed it--5'11" 210.
I can't think of a better person to coach up our young back than the guy who he is essentially a clone of. If Moreno and the rest of the backs have a guy like Davis showing them the in's and out's of professional football, they will be A.O.K.
The next step would be to hire Denver Sports Hall of Famer Rod Smith to coach up our wide receivers. If there was ever a player who exemplifies hard work, determination, and the American dream, it's Rod Smith.
The guy was as fun to listen to as he was to watch play. I love this quote from Smith about Maurice Clarett, but it really applies to all players:
"You can't make the club if you're in the tub."
It essentially means to toughen up. This is what I'd like to see from our wide receiver group. If these guys are going to play finesse football, that's fine. But I'd like to see them go the extra mile. Rod Smith with Demaryius Thomas' size and athleticism would have been the greatest football player to ever grace 100 yards of green turf.
Thomas, Decker, Lloyd, Royal, Gaffney, Willis, and the bunch would benefit greatly from the tutelage of Smith, who is tough as nails and drives a crappy car to work every day to remind him where he came from. The same guy who came to work every day thankful to be where he was, thankful for the opportunity to play in the NFL. The same guy who had the mentality that nothing was given to him; that every day he had to work his butt off to keep his job.
Someone should have thought of this before, right?
Perhaps some of the former players have no interest in coaching.
Perhaps none of this will come to fruition.
A guy can dream though, right?
This is my master plan for the Broncos. Josh McDaniels, I know you have at least one point in your life read Mile High Report. It's the top NFL blog on the web, so let's just be real for a second here. Even if you only read one time, it doesn't take a genius to see that the people of MHR know football, and they sure as heck know their Broncos. I don't want to say I speak for the whole fan base, but a lot of this many of us would want to see happen.
Make it happen, coach. Save your job, save your reputation, but more importantly--save the franchise that we all love.
Embrace the nostalgia, Josh. Grant us this wish.
We will rise.