When John Elway relinquished general manager duties for the Denver Broncos, there were concerns from the fan base and media that he might linger to pull the strings of his replacement. However, Elway revealed over the weekend to 9NEWS' Mike Klis that he vacated his GM office so that George Paton can take up residence.
Maybe it can be viewed as a symbolic gesture, but more likely it's a sure-fire sign that Elway is ready to give up control of the roster and that handy office that provides a bird's-eye view of the Broncos' practice fields at UCHealth Training Center.
“They told me I could have kept the office and I said, ‘No I wanted George to have it,’” Elway told Klis. “I’ve got a good setup in Pat’s (conference) room. But George should have that office. It’s the GM office, so that’s why it should be his.”
History tells us that any changing of the guard at the executive level can be tricky, so Elway had to choose his words carefully on exactly how the new chain of command will work with Paton as GM, Vic Fangio as head coach, and Elway as president of football operations.
“Vic and the GM are still going to report to me,” Elway told 9NEWS. “They’ll work together and come up with solutions themselves. With the big decisions, I’ll be involved. But ultimately the GM will have to be in control.”
Elway moved his office into one of the late Pat Bowlen's conference rooms. But he is not expected to be as present at Broncos HQ as he's been over the last decade as GM.
A bloodless revolution is underway in the corridors of Dove Valley, with CEO Joe Ellis also expected to step away at some point in 2022. Up to this point, the transfer of power has not been beset by any bitterness or stubborn egos, which bodes well for Paton being able to set about the business of making the Broncos contenders again.
Brittany Bowlen’s involvement in making Denver an attractive destination for Paton is also a positive indicator that an answer to the ongoing ownership question could come in the near future.
As Elway exits the day-to-day control of the Broncos, it's worth recognizing that his fingerprints are on all three of the team's Lombardi Trophies and seven of the club's Super Bowl berths. As such a legendary figure, Elway will forever cast a massive shadow over the Broncos, but by moving aside gracefully, he is proving that no one person is bigger than the organization.