Hall of Fame NFL Legend; Executive VP of football operations for the Denver Broncos
John Elway, a dynamic leader with experience guiding the Broncos to world championships as both a player and a general manager, enters his seventh season as the club’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations/GM in 2017. He was named to his current position by Owner Pat Bowlen on Jan. 5, 2011. Inducted into the Pro…
John Elway, a dynamic leader with experience guiding the Broncos to world championships as both a player and a general manager, enters his seventh season as the club’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations/GM in 2017. He was named to his current position by Owner Pat Bowlen on Jan. 5, 2011.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame following a magnificent 16-year career as a quarterback with the Broncos from 1983-98 that included five Super Bowl appearances and two world championships, Elway is responsible for overseeing all football operations for the Broncos. He directs all aspects of the team’s player acquisition process, including college scouting research related to the NFL Draft along with pro personnel efforts associated with free agency and trades.
Bringing a competitive and experienced football acumen to the Broncos, Elway has infused the club’s football operations with a winning culture and a positive approach toward building a championship team. He holds final say on all football-related matters while reporting directly to Bowlen and President & CEO Joe Ellis.
Elway’s vision and aggressive approach toward free agency and the NFL Draft have guided the Broncos’ unprecedented progress in his five seasons as the club’s lead football executive.
Inheriting a Broncos team that finished 4-12 in 2010, Elway has overseen a drastic turnaround in which Denver has totaled the second-most overall wins (73) in the NFL since 2011 while capturing five consecutive AFC West Division titles for the first time in team history. Elway guided the franchise to its third world championship in 2015 with a 24-10 win against Carolina in Super Bowl 50.
In becoming the first individual to start at quarterback for a Super Bowl winner and return as a general manager to win another, Elway was tabbed as 2015 Executive of the Year by multiple outlets, including ESPN.com (John Clayton). He also received the 2016 Jack Horrigan Award from the Pro Football Writers of America for his qualities and professional style in dealing with the media.
Off the field, Elway has spearheaded several innovative efforts to achieve and sustain success for the football team. In 2011, the Broncos became the first NFL team to hire four full-time strength and conditioning coaches to implement adaptive training regimens for players. The team also offers a full-service kitchen and nutrition staff to optimize player performance through customized diet plans.
The Broncos under Elway have embraced various methods of football analytics as a tool to support evaluations and situational decisions made by the personnel staff and coaches. Additionally, the team has been at the forefront of equipment testing and technology to maximize the health, safety and performance of its players.
Complementing the Broncos’ investment in support and infrastructure, the organization has been among the NFL’s most active clubs in improving its roster under Elway, utilizing the NFL Draft, free agency, trades and waiver acquisitions to assemble a championship-caliber team.
He was the architect of the highest-scoring offense in NFL history (606 pts.) in 2013 that helped propel the Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII. Just two years later, Elway put together the league’s No.1-ranked defense (283.1 ypg) that will go down as one of the finest units in NFL history after leading Denver to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
With an innate understanding of the chemistry required of a Super Bowl championship team, Elway made a bold move in 2015 to position Denver to return to the NFL’s mountaintop. Coming off four consecutive AFC West titles, he hired Gary Kubiak, a highly regarded and accomplished head coach who had been a part of three previous Super Bowl-winning staffs.
The Broncos’ 2015 squad contained the perfect blend of talent, experience and discipline, as evidenced by its NFL-record 11 wins by a touchdown or less.
Denver’s suffocating defense, in true championship form, held its three playoff opponents—featuring three of the top-four scoring offenses in 2015—to nearly half (50.7%) of their average regular-season point totals. Linebacker Von Miller, who was Elway’s first draft pick as an executive in 2011, became just the 10th defensive player to be named Super Bowl MVP after totaling 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in a dominating performance against the Panthers.
During his five seasons as an executive, Elway has signed or extended the contracts of 15 players who have combined for 31 Pro Bowl selections with the Broncos. He is the only general manager in the NFL during that span who has acquired future Pro Bowl players through the NFL Draft, street free agency, unrestricted free agency and college free agency.
Signed by Elway as a street free agent in 2012, quarterback Peyton Manning was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in his first season with the Broncos before earning his unprecedented fifth NFL Most Valuable Player Award from the Associated Press in 2013. The future Hall of Famer capped his legendary career by piloting Denver to a Super Bowl 50 win in his final game.
Elway’s 2014 free agent class—Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware—made the Broncos just the second team in league history (Carolina, 1996) to sign four players who made the Pro Bowl in their first year with the team. In all, Denver’s 11 Pro Bowl selections in 2014 represented the most in the NFL and set a team record.
Among the Broncos’ Pro Bowl selections from 2014 was a pair of players signed by Elway as college free agents: running back C.J. Anderson (2013) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (2011).
Denver’s 2013 squad, which advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII, was more than 90 percent comprised of players acquired or re-signed by Elway. The Broncos’ record-setting offense received key contributions from Manning (NFL MVP) as well as unrestricted free agents Louis Vasquez (first-team AP All-Pro) and Wes Welker (career-high 10 TD receptions).
The Broncos’ 2012 campaign, which included 11 consecutive victories by at least seven points to end the regular season, made Elway the first executive in the Super Bowl era to lead a four-win improvement and deliver a division title in each of his first two years with a team. Elway was recognized nationally by finishing second in The Sporting News’ 2012 Executive of the Year voting.
During his first year in his new role in 2011, Elway immediately made his mark as an NFL executive by guiding the Broncos to an historic turnaround. He assembled a team that became only the third since the 1970 NFL merger to win its division and a playoff game with a new head coach following four or fewer wins the previous season.
His first NFL Draft class in 2011, which included AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Miller and future Pro Bowler Julius Thomas, produced the second-most starts (56) in the league that season. Free-agent running back Willis McGahee earned Pro Bowl recognition after leading the NFL’s top rushing offense with 1,199 yards.
Elway’s initial decision leading the Broncos’ football operations was hiring John Fox as the 14th head coach in team history in 2011. Fox proved to be the perfect fit to start the team’s turnaround, finishing third in the Associated Press’ NFL Coach of the Year voting that year en route to helping the team make four consecutive playoff appearances.
In 2010, Elway worked for the Broncos as a consultant on various initiatives after gaining a substantial amount of football operations experience during eight years as co-owner and chief executive officer of the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush (2002-09). He ran the day-to-day operations of the Crush from its founding in June 2002, leading the club to an ArenaBowl championship just three years later.
Elway was heavily involved in the Crush’s business operations, including marketing, promotions and sponsorships, with his efforts resulting in the club being recognized as a premier franchise on and off the field. He was named AFL Executive of the Year in 2003, a season in which the Crush won the Commissioner’s Award presented annually to the most outstanding AFL franchise, and was honored as co-recipient of the 2005 Founders Award for his contributions to the AFL and its growth.
During his time with the Crush, Elway worked closely with Bowlen, who served as one-third owner of the franchise beginning with its inception. He held various committee assignments, including working as co-chair of the AFL’s competition committee and chairman of the league’s executive committee beginning in 2007.
The starting quarterback for the Broncos in five Super Bowls, Elway capped off his tenure as a player for the organization in 1998 by winning Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowl XXXIII after leading the Broncos to their second consecutive world championship. He retired as the all-time winningest starting quarterback in NFL history with a career mark of 148-82-1 (.643) while finishing with the second-most passing yards (51,475) and third-most passing touchdowns (300) in league annals.
Always driven by pressure, Elway directed the Broncos on a league-record 47 fourth-quarter or overtime, game-winning or game-saving drives in his legendary career. He also earned a franchise-record nine Pro Bowl selections and was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1987.
A 1999 inductee into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Elway was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in economics while concluding his collegiate playing career with five major NCAA Division I-A records and nine major Pacific-10 Conference marks. As a senior, Elway was a consensus All-American and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in addition to setting virtually every Pac-10 and Stanford career passing record en route to being the No. 1 overall selection in the 1983 NFL Draft.
A highly touted athlete from Granada Hills High School (Calif.), Elway also played baseball (outfielder/pitcher) at Stanford and was twice selected in the Major League Baseball Draft (18th round by Kansas City in 1979 and second round by the New York Yankees in 1981). He was named the Yankees’ top prospect by Baseball America and played outfield for the club’s short-season Single-A affiliate Oneonta Yankees (N.Y.) in the summer of 1982.
Elway’s late father, Jack, retired from the Broncos in 2000 after seven years with the club, including the last five as the team’s director of pro scouting. Born on June 28, 1960, John is married (Paige) and has four children: daughters Jessica Gwen, Jordan Marie and Juliana, and son Jack.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
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Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
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SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
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Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
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DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
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WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
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A Conversation With John Elway
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