Elway, in conjunction with then GM Brian Xanders, made linebacker Von Miller his first pick as the team's Vice President of Football Operations. The Broncos would go on to win the AFC West and a Wildcard playoff game that year.
It was the next season that he began to spread his wings as a personnel guy and a recruiter, closing the deal that would bring the most coveted and sought after player in the history of NFL free agency to Denver—Peyton Manning.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1679887-watch-john-elway-top-10-c... Elway's leadership wrought massive success with Manning, manifested by another four Divisional titles, five postseason wins, two AFC Championships and a Super Bowl title.
Not bad for a guy some didn't even consider to be a "football guy" when he took over the Denver front office. Over the course of a 16-year Hall of Fame playing career and another five as an executive, Elway has earned his share of awards and trophies.
The latest came in the form of the 2016 Jack Horrigan Award, handed out by the Pro Football Writers of America.
The Horrigan Award is given to the league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job. The award is named for Horrigan, who was a sportswriter for UPI and the Buffalo Evening News, public relations director for the American Football League (1963-66) and vice president of public relations for the Buffalo Bills (1966-73).
Elway, the 43rd Horrigan Award winner, is the third member of the Broncos organization to receive the honor from the PFWA, joining Floyd Little (1976) and Bob Peck (1978).
ESPN Denver's Jeff Legwold is President of the PFWA and knows as well as anyone who covers the Broncos Elway's qualities with regard to media relations.
“Since John Elway returned to the Broncos in 2011, he had been in the uncommon position as a Hall of Fame player who was now a team’s chief football decision-maker,” said PFWA President Jeff Legwold, who covers the Broncos for ESPN.com. “And after the 2015 season, he is the only person to have started at quarterback for a Super Bowl winner and then returned as a team’s top football executive to win another. Elway was cited by the PFWA membership for his willingness to offer perspective on what’s happening in the league as well as candid, honest assessments of events surrounding the Broncos in both good and difficult times.”
My singular experience with John Elway was one that left me impressed with his good will and professionalism, even at a time when he had many things on his plate.
For Elway, it's good to be King—er, or Duke.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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