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Broncos’ GMs through the years

An overview of the GMs who have led the team during its long history.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have had 13 men who have held the title of general manager, many of whom were also listed as something else during their time as GM. I will fully admit that I do not know much of the history of these GMs. I am reporting the information that I have found on pro-football-reference.com.

Some of the folks with whom I have interacted on Twitter have noted that a few of these GMs had little to no control over player decisions. Without digging too deeply into the history, I can’t say one way or the other, but I welcome the input of those who have knowledge of the roles that each played or didn’t play in the history of the franchise.

Obviously, those who were both head coach and GM are much easier to document. I have learned from those who lived through the mostly painful period of Broncos history led by Lou Saban and John Ralston and I welcome your input in the comments.

So here is the short list with data.

Executive Years Title W L T WIN% Playoff W Playoff L
Dean Griffing 1960-1961 General Manager 7 20 1 0.2593 0 0
Jack Faulkner 1962-1964 General Manager 11 29 1 0.2750 0 0
Fred Gehrke 1965-1966, 1977-1980 VP/General Manager 48 42 0 0.5333 2 3
Lou Saban 1967-1971 Head Coach/General Manager 22 45 3 0.3284 0 0
John Ralston 1972-1976 Head Coach/General Manager 34 33 3 0.5075 0 0
Grady Alderman 1981-1982 General Manager 12 13 0 0.4800 0 0
Hein Poulus 1983 General Manager 9 7 0 0.5625 0 1
John Beake 1984-1998 General Manager 152 86 1 0.6387 14 7
Neal Dahlen 1999-2001 General Manager 25 23 0 0.5208 0 1
Ted Sundquist 2002-2007 General Manager 58 38 0 0.6042 1 3
Jim Goodman 2008 VP of Football Operations/Player Personnel 8 8 0 0.5000 0 0
Brian Xanders 2009-2011 General Manager 20 28 0 0.4167 1 1
John Elway 2012-2020 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 90 70 0 0.5625 6 4

It was pointed out by Andrew Mason on Twitter that the Broncos without John Elway as a player or executive have three playoff wins; with him the franchise has 21.

I vaguely remember the history behind the brief stint of Jim Goodman as our GM. Goodman and his son Jeff were both ousted when Brian Xanders was elevated to the GM position. Goodman had been with franchise since 1998 starting as a scout and moving his way up to interim GM.

I don’t know the history behind the other one-year GM, Hein Poulus. I am very curious though. Google was not very helpful in digging up that tidbit of history. Grady Alderman had been the GM for the first two seasons under Dan Reeves. I’m not sure whether he left on his own or was fired. Remember that Pat Bowlen did not buy the team until after the 1983 season. The principal owner prior to that was Edgar Kaiser who had taken over from Gerald Phipps three years prior.

Having been born a few years prior, I was too young to be paying any attention to this, so again, any of you who want to share stories from this turbulent time in the history of the Broncos, please do so in the comments.

Person Year Title W L T WIN% Playoff W Playoff L Playoff Result
Dean Griffing 1960 General Manager 4 9 1 0.307692308 0 0
Dean Griffing 1961 General Manager 3 11 0 0.214285714 0 0
Jack Faulkner 1962 General Manager 7 7 0 0.5 0 0
Jack Faulkner 1963 General Manager 2 11 1 0.153846154 0 0
Jack Faulkner 1964 General Manager 2 11 1 0.153846154 0 0
Fred Gehrke 1965 General Manager 4 10 0 0.286 0 0
Fred Gehrke 1966 General Manager 4 10 0 0.286 0 0
Lou Saban 1967 Head Coach/General Manager 3 11 0 0.214 0 0
Lou Saban 1968 Head Coach/General Manager 5 9 0 0.357 0 0
Lou Saban 1969 Head Coach/General Manager 5 8 1 0.385 0 0
Lou Saban 1970 Head Coach/General Manager 5 8 1 0.385 0 0
Lou Saban 1971 Head Coach/General Manager 4 9 1 0.308 0 0
John Ralston 1972 Head Coach/General Manager 5 9 0 0.357 0 0
John Ralston 1973 Head Coach/General Manager 7 5 2 0.571 0 0
John Ralston 1974 Head Coach/General Manager 7 6 1 0.536 0 0
John Ralston 1975 Head Coach/General Manager 6 8 0 0.429 0 0
John Ralston 1976 Head Coach/General Manager 9 5 0 0.643 0 0
Fred Gehrke 1977 VP/General Manager 12 2 0 0.857 2 1 Lost SB
Fred Gehrke 1978 VP/General Manager 10 6 0 0.625 0 1 Lost Div
Fred Gehrke 1979 VP/General Manager 10 6 0 0.625 0 1 Lost WC
Fred Gehrke 1980 VP/General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
Grady Alderman 1981 General Manager 10 6 0 0.625 0 0
Grady Alderman 1982 General Manager 2 7 0 0.222 0 0
Hein Poulus 1983 General Manager 9 7 0 0.563 0 1 Lost WC
John Beake 1984 General Manager 13 3 0 0.813 0 1 Lost Div
John Beake 1985 General Manager 11 5 0 0.688 0 0
John Beake 1986 General Manager 11 5 0 0.688 2 1 Lost SB
John Beake 1987 General Manager 10 4 1 0.700 2 1 Lost SB
John Beake 1988 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
John Beake 1989 General Manager 11 5 0 0.688 2 1 Lost SB
John Beake 1990 General Manager 5 11 0 0.313 0 0
John Beake 1991 General Manager 12 4 0 0.750 1 1 Lost Conf
John Beake 1992 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
John Beake 1993 General Manager 9 7 0 0.563 0 1 Lost WC
John Beake 1994 General Manager 7 9 0 0.438 0 0
John Beake 1995 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
John Beake 1996 General Manager 13 3 0 0.813 0 1 Lost Div
John Beake 1997 General Manager 12 4 0 0.750 4 0 Won SB
John Beake 1998 General Manager 14 2 0 0.875 3 0 Won SB
Neal Dahlen 1999 General Manager 6 10 0 0.375 0 0
Neal Dahlen 2000 General Manager 11 5 0 0.688 0 1 Lost WC
Neal Dahlen 2001 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
Ted Sundquist 2002 General Manager 9 7 0 0.563 0 0
Ted Sundquist 2003 General Manager 10 6 0 0.625 0 1 Lost WC
Ted Sundquist 2004 General Manager 10 6 0 0.625 0 1 Lost WC
Ted Sundquist 2005 General Manager 13 3 0 0.813 1 1 Lost Conf
Ted Sundquist 2006 General Manager 9 7 0 0.563 0 0
Ted Sundquist 2007 General Manager 7 9 0 0.438 0 0
Jim Goodman 2008 VP of Football Operations/Player Personnel 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
Brian Xanders 2009 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 0 0
Brian Xanders 2010 General Manager 4 12 0 0.250 0 0
Brian Xanders 2011 General Manager 8 8 0 0.500 1 1 Lost Div
John Elway 2012 Executive VP of Football Operations/de facto General Manager 13 3 0 0.813 0 1 Lost Div
John Elway 2013 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 13 3 0 0.813 2 1 Lost SB
John Elway 2014 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 12 4 0 0.750 0 1 Lost Div
John Elway 2015 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 12 4 0 0.750 3 0 Won SB
John Elway 2016 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 9 7 0 0.563 0 0
John Elway 2017 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 5 11 0 0.313 0 0
John Elway 2018 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 6 10 0 0.375 0 0
John Elway 2019 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 7 9 0 0.438 0 0
John Elway 2020 Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager 5 11 0 0.313 0 0