ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — Denver Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis met with the media discussing various things ranging from John Elway’s contract to Gary Kubiak’s return along with addressing Stadium Naming rights and Pat Bowlen’s Hall of Fame Candidacy.
He announced that along with Elway’s 5 year contract extension, that he has also received a promotion to “President of Football Operations”, he said that, “We’re football first here at the Broncos, and obviously John is our leader of the team and I think he is definitely deserving of this title elevation. That’s how we’re going to proceed, he will also retain the title of General Manager.” His formal title will be”President of Football Operations/General Manager.” While Elway’s duties won’t really change, Ellis mentioned that “it’s really a recognition that he deserves for all that he does and all that he has done for this team over the years since he arrived here in 1984.” He mentioned that he and Elway both saw a need to get the contract finished before camp so the “focus (was) on the football team”.
Ellis added that he, “really wasn’t that concerned” about the contract because Elway had, “said publicly at various events, that he wanted to stay here and remain a Bronco.” He hoped that Elway’s promotion would hit Owner Pat Bowlen’s vision of the organization, “I know how proud Pat would be of where the organization is due to John’s hard work and his vision, his football acumen and his business acumen as well. I think he would be pleased, no question, John is so synonymous with this town, this city, this region and this team.”
Speaking of Owner Pat Bowlen, he offered the example of Bowlen’s, “vision he had for television, you can go back to [Former Chairman of NBC Universal Sports] Dick Ebersol, you can go back to David Hill at FOX Sports. Pat was an integral part of the growth of television in this league and television has been a huge driver for the success of the NFL”, as a calling card for Bowlen’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is absurd that this didn’t happen sooner, so the man could fully enjoy the experience. That doesn’t even take into consideration, “his day job”, ” He was here every single day, and that’s not always the case with an owner. His success with this organization speaks for itself, 300 wins in 30 plus years. More Super Bowl appearances then losing seasons. I don’t have all the details in front of me I probably do on the other side of this page but I could go on and on about all of that. He deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s as much as you can say. You can’t kick and scream but I think they know that and I’m hopeful that this year is his year.”
When asked about Bowlen’s health he said, “I’ll speak for how he’s doing; he’s doing just fine resting comfortably in his home. Alzheimer’s is a wicked disease and I bet some of you in this audience have relatives or friends that have been inflicted with it and it’s brutally unfair.” Here is to hoping that when that day comes, he is having one of his better days.
Ellis spoke of the return of former Broncos Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach Gary Kubiak, he said it was “great”, and he felt the idea of this return was born in the Kansas City hotel room where Elway “accepted Gary’s decision to step down” while noting that Kubiak mentioned in his retirement press conference that Kubiak was ‘retired from coaching not football’.
In addressing the stadium naming rights he mentioned a ) the name will not change during the season, “No, it’s going to stay as it is until we have a deal.” b) the name is currently, “Sports Authority Field and Mile High” and c ) “there’s nothing today to report”. He joked about his incorrect forecast that he gave at the same press conference a year ago, and labored about how complicated a deal of this nature was to complete.
He was warming up at the mic when he continued to joke that the fans are “glad that I don’t have to make the decision” while answering a question about the impending Quarterback competition between incumbent starter Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. He praised both by saying, “we have two good young and experienced guys.” well, one out of two isn’t bad, and I guess this is where someone should have started flashing the lights for him to wrap up the comments, but he is the President & CEO so he gets to say what he wants.
Ellis mentioned that he understood the frustration of “losing) your tickets ” when speaking of the fans that had their season tickets revoked and said “We looked at each case individually and determined if there was a medical reason or some military obligations or assignments” before revoking them, and with a “waiting list, 75,000 [plus] of them at this point”, they were going to try to prevent “having a guy in a Kansas City jersey, an Oakland jersey or a [Chargers] jersey” sitting at the game. He understood the “hurt feelings”, but it’s about “Broncos fans” that want to attend the game each Sunday which is the concept in buying season tickets, anyway. Of course things come up, but if you’ve got 8 home regular season games and you are attending less than half, then you can’t blame them for stepping in.
Going back to “Sports Authority Field and Mile High” , he said they have, “a lot of work to do” in modernising the stadium, and “the studies that we’ve done would indicate that it’s going to cost significant dollars to keep the stadium up to the standards that paying customers expect when they go to an event like ours.” He mentioned the new Los Angeles and Dallas venues as being “pretty grand” but is also interested in how the “Los Angeles Chargers do in a small venue this coming season. I think it will be interesting and a lot of people are sort of nay-saying it, saying it’s not true to football or whatever, but it may be a very comfortable and exciting environment.”
In speaking of the fan experience at training camp, he mentioned that Coach Joseph will be extending, “the autograph period by about five minutes”, and that they are bringing in some “food trucks” to serve the fans and that he is “excited for it and I think our fans will be too.”
He closed with a few comments about keeping the training facilities top of the line. He said that the indoor facility is “state of the art, as good as any in the country”, but there were immediate plans to upgrade, “team meeting rooms here and on the other side of the building” and praised the overall work of [Senior Vice President of Operations] Chip Conway his staff.
See the presser below.