Elway, not Manning, is the right choice to own the Broncos

Sep 24, 2021, 5:03 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm
Pat Bowlen, Peyton Manning and John Elway pose for a photo during the Denver Broncos press conferen...
(Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Hold up. Not so fast, James Merilatt.

While Peyton Manning might be a wise choice to run the Denver Broncos, as my esteemed colleague argued earlier this week, it’s not the correct one.

That would be John Elway.

Reports have surfaced indicating both No. 7 and No. 18 plan to be a part of separate groups looking to make a bid to own the Broncos franchise when it’s expected to be on the market next spring.

And, indeed, pitting the two legends against each other makes for a tough debate.

They both led Denver to multiple Super Bowl appearances, with each quarterback walking off into the sunset a world champion in his final game.

Both will have their names forever etched into the façade at Mile High.

When people think about the orange and blue, two names arise to the top of most everyone’s list: Manning and Elway.

But it’s Elway’s long-time association with another name who embodies all things Broncos — Pat Bowlen — that makes him the right candidate to take over as owner.

In my biased opinion having played for him, “Mr. B” was the greatest owner in professional sports history.

Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2019, Bowlen presided over one of the most successful periods for a franchise in NFL history.

During the Bowlen era (1984 to 2018), the Broncos won more games (354), had more winning seasons (21) and had more playoff appearances (18) than any other team in the NFL.

And few people, if anyone, had a closer relationship to Bowlen than Elway.

He spent 16 years with Bowlen as a player and several more years as an executive under him with the Broncos. He knows the ins and outs of the franchise.

Elway can carry the torch lit by Bowlen into the future for Denver.

Not to mention, Elway has the business acumen to lead a franchise. In fact, he’s done it before, as an ownership partner — along with Bowlen and Stan Kroenke — of the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush.

He’s the owner of four high-end steakhouses and formerly owned five auto dealerships before selling them to AutoNation in 1997 for $82.5 million.

But, perhaps most importantly, Elway seems more suited as an owner than Manning, who’d likely want to be more hands-on in a football operations sense.

Elway may be more suited for a hands-off role, but his experience as a former player and executive cannot be overlooked. Plus, he can delegate the day-to-day football operations to someone looking to get their hands a little dirtier — perhaps someone like Manning.

In any case, it’s Elway who’s the right choice to take over as the new owner of the Broncos.


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Elway, not Manning, is the right choice to own the Broncos