Posted Wed Jan 12th by Kris Burke
Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels came to Denver from New England and tried to convert the Broncos into doing things the “Patriot Way,” the way that led the Pats to three Super Bowl titles in four years.
If “Patriot Way” was in a dictionary, here is what you would likely find for its definition: “Being as broad and non-specific about injuries and personnel moves while also looking for any competitive edge possible and create a all for one and one for all team mentality.”
McDaniels tried to do exactly that in Denver and failed. Check that. He EPICALLY failed and was promptly shown the door in the aftermath of Spygate II, the most embarrassing moment in the history of the proud Denver Broncos franchise.
In the press conference where he was introduced as the head man of the Broncos’ football operations, Elway more than once said that he will be bringing transparency back to the franchise so that fans can know what’s going on with their team.
Not soon after the press conference concluded, Elway established a Twitter account (@johnelway) and less than a week after his formal introduction the entire NFL world has been introduced to the new Broncos “transparency.”
And what a breath of fresh air it is!
This weekend in an absolute jaw dropping move, Elway and the Broncos on Twitter shared a photo of Elway and company sitting down with New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell for his interview to become the next Broncos head coach. Not soon after that photo was posted, the team released an answer Fewell gave to one the questions he was asked.
As if that weren’t enough, the Broncos’ official Twitter feed (@Denver_Broncos) shared two “behind the scenes” videos.
One was of Fewell being followed from the airport all the way to Dove Valley to actual video of him conversing with Elway and then sitting down for the actual interview. Keeping in mind, Fewell is only a CANDIDATE for the job but he was being given treatment like he was the new coach.
The same goes for interim head coach Eric Studesville, who the second photo and video featured. The photo featured Studesville and general manager Brian Xanders sitting and talking before the formal interview began and the video was with the “Broncos TV” crew and Studesville was asked in his office about his mindset going into the interview.
This kind of access is basically unheard of in the professional football ranks. When a team searches for a new head coach, they usually keep things tight lipped so as to not tip off other teams competing with them for a candidate or candidates.
Instead, Elway and the Broncos have been a complete open book announcing PUBLICLY who they want to interview and when as well as giving snippets of the actual interview itself! It has allowed fans to discuss things in a more open way and it doesn’t leave the fans guessing what the organization is and isn’t doing. It eliminates the whole “what if” factor that often poisons what should be civil discussions between fans of the same team.
The question is of course whether this new “Broncos way” is the wave of the future and a beacon for other teams or just a really bad poker face that allows other teams to easily determine what path the Broncos are going down.
In my opinion, I think this is incredible and a positive model that a lot of professional sports franchises in general, not just football, could adopt. This kind of practice would eliminate a lot of the paranoid filing of tampering charges teams do against each other with certain players and allows to fans feel like they are actually part of the team. It would also eliminate a lot of backroom whispering that goes on. How much would Tony Sparano have loved to have seen the video of the Dolphins meeting with Jim Harbaugh?
This also brings a much needed image boost of the Broncos to either potential coaching candidates or free agents. It shows that the franchise is interested enough to send out a video crew and document what they are doing coming to Denver and what they will bring to the team. Elway and his team will ask those questions and it’s more than fair that the fans hear the answer to that as well. They are helping pay the salaries of not only the coaches and executives but the players as well. The fans deserve to know where their money is headed.
Another big bonus of this was seen a couple days ago when Elway’s words had been twisted by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio that the Broncos would consider sending second-year quarterback Tim Tebow to the Minnesota Vikings should McDaniels accept the offensive coordinator position there. With the new approach Elway and the Broncos have been taking, they were able to nip the story in the bud quickly and keep an already misleading story from blowing to something even bigger and likely embarrassing.
Now even with all the positives to this approach, this isn’t to say this should be mandated by the league or that the team show should everything it’s doing. Getting players to make up an NFL roster is the ultimate game of chess that is played by 32 men each Sunday from training camp through December or January or February. Secrecy is needed in football operations, especially when dealing with the collegiate draft and free agency. It remains unlikely the Broncos will feature a video for every free agent they bring in whenever free agency begins.
To use the poker analogy again, the best players know when to show they have a good hand and when to bluff. Sometimes you have to bluff to get the most out of a certain situation if the cards fall that way. There’s no doubt Elway will face a scenario like that somewhere down the road. Other times if you hold what you think is a winning hand no one can beat, you flaunt it and get the competition to fold. Elway has played in some poker tournaments. He knows the approach.
Will Elway’s transparency work? Time will tell. That said, he immediately has begun living up to his word with a fan base that already adored him but had grown sick and tired of the darkness and deceit of the previous regime. The Elway-built Broncos are months away from taking the field for the first time, but it seems like the franchise is already in better shape than it was just a week ago.
Yet another Mile High Miracle orchestrated by John Elway seems to be brewing. Let’s all just sit back and watch the magic happen.