As the Broncos entered the welcome whirlwind of the offseason, rumors have swirled about coaches, quarterbacks, and ownership. Such is the way when a team with so much talent squanders their season in such spectacular fashion. For the moment, let’s put aside the quarterback and coach talk and take a critical look at the soon-to-come change in ownership.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t speak with some level of reverence for John Elway and Peyton Manning and the Super Bowl championships they represent. They are indisputable and iconic pillars of Broncos history... But would they be good owners? Or more importantly, would they be good representatives of the ownership groups they represent?
Let’s take a minute and look at the legacy of Pat Bowlen. If he were to kick the tires of the team today, no fan would take him seriously. An attorney with Canadian ties to his family oil business? What does he know about football? What on earth could he do for the Broncos? The answer was everything.
While it may be uncomfortable to think of the Broncos in the hands of anyone but Elway or Manning, the possibility exists that the personality vacuum created by Bowlen’s death could be filled with another unknown leader. Owning the Broncos is not a job like being a coach, quarterback, or trainer.
When Mr. B passed away a giant cornerstone of Broncos personality went with him. Leadership and vision wilted in favor of guaranteed checks written to the trustees, win or lose. Owning the Broncos is a position of charisma, respect, and relationship-building. Where the Broncos are now is a direct result of having none of that. They’ve been adrift, passed over to host the draft and been shunned for national games.
Mr. B was bigger than Elway and bigger than Manning. The future of the Broncos needs to be as big or bigger than Mr. B if the tradition of winning that Broncos fans are used to (and now miss) is to continue. There needs to be someone with bold ideas for the future. Someone who will fight for the Broncos in the rocky mountain region and beyond. In a few months, when the decision is made, the new owner of the Broncos is going to blaze the future for decades to come.
While the fan-favorites for ownership may be an Elway group or a Manning group, let’s not rule out the unknown simply because they aren’t familiar. On the other hand, if it is a Manning or Elway group, they have every opportunity to represent the bold leadership this team needs. So let’s go into the coming months with an open mind, even for those potential owners who have never laced them up.
There is a seismic shift coming in Broncos Country. Let’s keep an open mind about the future. We might yet be surprised.
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