The first big hire by new Broncos ownership should be Peyton Manning


Having purchased the Broncos for a cool $4.65 billion, all the crazy-rich Waltons need now for their smart and diverse ownership team is a quarterback.

“Our No. 1 priority is putting a winning team on the field to win Super Bowls for Broncos Country,” Rob Walton said Wednesday, when a 77-year-old guy with more money than God was refreshingly humble enough to admit he doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about football.

OK, if one of the richest men on the planet wants to live to enjoy the day when the Broncos win their next championship, may I humbly offer two cents of advice?

Hire Peyton Manning.

“Peyton is one of the greatest NFL players of all time and obviously won a championship here (in Denver),” said Greg Penner, the brand-new and charming CEO of the Broncos, in no small part because he once made the very wise decision to marry Carrie Walton and get formally hitched to the Walmart financial empire.

On the morning when these crazy-rich Waltons walked out to Broncos practice for the first time since their purchase of the franchise was approved by an enthusiastically unanimous vote of fellow NFL owners, there was a celebrity buzz at Dove Valley headquarters.

Denver mayor Michael Hancock dropped by to hear ownership’s vision for his favorite team. Two of the rock-star minority partners in the Waltons ownership group, Starbucks chairwoman Mellody Hobson and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, were living proof of what strong women can achieve in the United States.

Know what else was really cool? Under the shining sun of an Instagram-worthy Colorado summer morning, two Hall of Fame quarterbacks who had a big hand in the Broncos’ three championships stood 60 yards apart in the 11 o’clock hour.

Arms folded across his chest, John Elway was a lone wolf, his gaze focused intently on Russell Wilson, as the current Broncos quarterback threw gorgeous spirals to Courtland Sutton and a slew of receivers.

But one field over from where Elway quietly planted his shoes in the grass, the most compelling scene of a historic day slowly unfolded.

Sixty yards, there was Manning on the sideline of an adjoining practice field, surrounded by the new ownership team, holding court for over 20 minutes with the Waltons, as well as Rice and Hobson.

As Manning animatedly punctuated his views by stabbing the air with his hands, the new owners of the Broncos hung on every word he uttered. These captains of industry and politics, successful men and ground-breaking women in their chosen fields, were obviously starstruck by Manning.

“We’re big believers in empowering people,” Penner said. “We love football … But we’re not going to be calling plays, we’re not going to be drafting players. We’re going to empower this team, led by (general manager) George Paton and (coach) Nathaniel Hackett to make those decisions.”

Why not add Manning to the dream team?

The ownership group will hire a president of business operations to replace Joe Ellis, who departs after 27 years of distinguished service to the Broncos. The new president will report directly to Penner, as will Paton.

As Manning builds his entertainment production company, it would seem to make little sense for him to enter NFL management as Broncos president. Manning, however, could be invaluable to Penner and the Walton family in an executive consulting role. PFM could offer input on everything from building a championship culture, to major personnel decisions, to how a new stadium might impact team success.

Despite an estimated net worth of $60 billion, give or take the price of a mega yacht, what makes shaking hands with one S. Robson Walton for the first time such a pleasure is his endearing hint of aw-shucks, old-fashioned, taint-nothing Midwestern humility.


Source link