DENVER -- On Wednesday, the United Club at INVESCO Field at Mile High was abuzz.
More than 100 suiteholders and corporate partners gathered for the Broncos' A Night With The Coaches event, which was emceed by Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Saccomano.
After an hour of cocktails and socializing, the attendees made their way to tables and awaited the main event of the evening -- a Q&A session with Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, General Manager Brian Xanders, Head Coach John Fox, Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy, Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen and Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers.
"Being able to give our partners intimate access to our new football operations staff is tremendous," said Senior Vice President of Business Development Mac Freeman. "It gave them a look at the excitement, the energy and the collaborative effort inside the building."
After some quick introductions, Elway, Xanders and Fox took the audience through the team's 2011 NFL Draft, pick-by-pick, offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the decision-making that led to two trades and another that didn't quite happen.
When Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley -- who some had slated early in the process to head to Denver with the No. 2 selection -- began sliding down the draft board, the Broncos considered trading back into the first round.
With two second-round picks and a third-round pick at their disposal, the team believed it could jump back to anywhere between pick No. 14 to 16 to snag the talented prospect.
"To have him and
So for the long-term vision of the franchise, the war room had to decide whether it was worth it to make the trade. Then the Detroit Lions selected Fairley at No. 13, ending the debate.
After the look back at the draft, the three coordinators took the stage as well and the group took questions from the audience that ranged from the team's strengths on offense -- Fox said offensive line, wide receiver and quarterback -- to who will handle kick return duties -- Rodgers named
The in-depth talk with the football staff left a good impression on those in attendance.
"I enjoyed it very much," said Kirk Stuart, head of partnerships for Visa. "To me, it was a relatively unique example that I've observed with the Broncos where they didn't simply bring out the marketing guys or a quick cameo from one of the coaches, but in fact they brought out the entire staff and really put their best foot forward."
Stuart said he was impressed that the coaches and front office staff stuck around after the event to talk with the suiteholders and sponsors, even snapping a few pictures and signing autographs.
Along with fan forums that Elway, Xanders and Fox have already held with season ticket holders -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hold his own conference call with season ticket holders tomorrow -- the efforts the Broncos have made to bridge the gap between the franchise and its fans have been well-received.
"They seem to really be stepping up their outreach, their transparency and their communication in such a way that it felt very inclusive," Stuart said. "It seemed to take their relationships to another level."