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John Elway needs to make good on his promise to stay away

(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

This week, the Denver Broncos announced that John Elway, while remaining with the organization, will be stepping down and the team will be hiring a new general manager. Elway has given Broncos fans many amazing moments with “The Drive,” “The Helicopter” and the signing of Peyton Manning.

Elway’s next big move for the Broncos should be to let the next general manager do his job independent of what Elway thinks.

If Elway believes he should still be involved in “big decisions,” he should stop that. What defines a “big decision?”

Who to draft in the first round? Trading for a quarterback? Keeping Von Miller? These are big decisions that should not involve Elway.

It might be hard for Elway to fully let go or to know when it’s his place and when it’s not. For the betterment of everybody, however, Elway should just assume his opinion isn’t needed.

If he’s not asked for his input, then he shouldn’t give it. Elway should not insert himself in any decision-making process. If his guidance is requested, at that point he should offer his opinion, other than that, mind your business, John.

Elway had his chance, he’s had a lot of success and he also made a lot of head scratching decisions. Either way, his time is over. These aren’t Elway’s decisions anymore. The new general manager will have a contract that extends beyond Elway’s contract and this person needs every opportunity to succeed on his own.

Elway owes it to the general manager to give him the respect to let him do the job without somebody looking over his shoulder. With the strong possibility of a new owner prior to the 2022 season, this new hire will require the autonomy to prove to a potential new owner that he can be the stability to help bridge the transition.

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio is returning. The Broncos could have fired Fangio, but there wouldn’t really be any better options willing to come to Denver. The Broncos offer nothing to intrigue a quality head coaching candidate. They’re not so much sticking with Fangio as much as they are stuck with Fangio. That said, Fangio and the new general manager need to work together to see if Fangio can succeed with a better roster.

If Fangio proves not to be the guy, then the new general manager needs to be able to sell himself and the Broncos to new potential coaching candidates down the line. If the perception of the new general manager is he was just somebody that was really being controlled by Elway, he won’t have any credibility with to potential coaches, or anybody for that matter.

Broncos Country, for the most part, has enjoyed an incredible ride with Elway. Elway owes it to the fan base to commit to this change.

The fans have stuck it out the last four to five seasons and deserve a new vision. The Broncos have become frustratingly unwatchable in recent years. Being a sports fan takes time and money and in the last few seasons, the Broncos haven’t given fans a reason to invest, either.

Elway, for better or worse, has received the majority of the blame for the Broncos recent struggles. Throughout questionable draft picks, unwise free-agent signings and bad coaching hires, Elway has remained the constant and that makes him the fall guy.

The Broncos and Elway were right to make this move as they have lost credibility. Asking fans to buy into one more season of this regime was asking too much. The Broncos have been awful. They couldn’t continue down this road. Elway and Joe Ellis showed a great deal of awareness by making this move.

However, they need to follow through. This can’t just be a shifting of titles and Elway still is involved with the draft and free agency. If Elway is involved at all, this whole thing is a sham and would be embarrassing.

It’s important the Broncos provide fans a reason to care about the 2021 season and, removing Elway from the general manager position might be enough to peak interest. But, if there is any indication that Elway is still involved with roster moves, fans will tune out until 2022.

The Broncos have had little success without John Elway. Elway is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and a Super Bowl-winning general manager. He has succeeded at both at the highest level. He deserves praise for both. Hopefully as the years go on, Elway’s time as a Broncos executive will be looked at fairly and not just for the struggles of the past five seasons.

Fans of the Broncos are forever indebted to Elway for his time as quarterback and for coming back to the organization after the disaster that was Josh McDaniels. Elway’s good far outweighs the bad.

Now, for the first time in his Broncos career, Elway isn’t the most important person in the building and he needs to understand that.

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