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Denver Broncos lack true organizational leadership

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With Pat Bowlen gone, the Broncos still don’t have an owner in place. The Bowlen trust is working fine, but who is really in charge of the franchise?

NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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Unfortunately, the Denver Broncos season has been over for several weeks now. That is not a usual occurrence by week 13 for Broncos Country. If you haven’t already, go ahead and put a shotgun to the head of this season and pull the trigger.

The worst aspect of what has happened at Dove Valley is the notion that the leadership in Denver has failed the franchise. As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the Mile High Report Radio podcast, the Broncos are in need of true leadership at the top.

Here is the problem. John Elway is the President of Football Operations. Joe Ellis is the president, chairman, and CEO of the Denver Broncos. Those are a couple of hefty titles. Both Ellis and Elway are major figures in the Denver sports world, but Ellis is John Elway’s boss. Why is that an issue? Joe Ellis will never be in a position to fire John Elway.

Let me be clear, this is not a call for Elway to be fired. He has been an extremely successful GM in the NFL, and has put together a team that went to two Super Bowls, winning in 2015. However, this is a recognition of the fact the the front office of the Denver Broncos is rudderless. While Elway is in charge of putting together the team, Ellis is in charge of the organization. He is also one of three trustees on the Pat Bowlen trust, designed to transfer ownership of the team to one of Bowlen’s children.

All this means that Joe Ellis has an enormous amount of power, but can’t really do anything with it. It also means that John Elway doesn’t really have anyone to answer to. It’s as if the team was a headless horseman. No direction, no identity, and no accountability.

As fans, we have witnessed the issues of having no real owner first hand. There was never any agreement on the plan for Paxton Lynch. It is inconceivable that John Elway would make a draft pick that would never truly be given a chance, yet Lynch was never really given an opportunity. He will likely be off the Broncos roster in 2018, effectively putting an end to the Lynch saga.

Whatever public persona the Denver Broncos put out, the issues in the front office are obvious. Without any one leader to put their foot down, or make a decision, there will always be a power struggle. Ellis can’t fire Elway because of who he is to the franchise. The franchise seems lost, and at this point, simply blaming Vance Joseph isn’t enough. The team also looked lost in 2016.

The body can’t function when the head doesn’t work. The Broncos issues may be only as deep as their head coach, but it seems like there is more to it. Denver needs true leadership at the top. Someone who can guide the ship. As it stands right now, there are too many captains and not enough deck hands. The ship has run aground.

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