The 2018 regular season has barely been over for a week, and while the wounds of disappointment are still there for Broncos Country, they are beginning to scab over a bit.
So we look to the future because that is how it always must be — but the solution to fixing things and getting the Denver Broncos back to championship contention can be found by looking toward the past.
To be specific, that solution began on January 5, 2011, when the great Owner Pat Bowlen named John Elway as the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
His title has changed since then, but Elway's drive and determination have no — and Mr. B. knew that Elway was just the person that the Broncos needed to steady the ship.
That 2010 season was very trying to the entire organization.
The season ended with an extremely disappointing 4-12 record that was a parallel to the miseries suffered by the Broncos and our fan base this past season.
President and CEO Joe Ellis remembers it well. During the Broncos' end-of-season press conferences, he made it clear that he would never let himself forget that season. And now he will not forget the 2017 campaign. Both seasons, Ellis said that morning, should reinforce how tough it is to win in the NFL.
"I use these seasons as a reminder of what it could be," Ellis said. "It just makes you work harder. [You must] make sure you put a little more intensity into what you're doing across the organization. I talked earlier about [that] when [KUSA reporter] Mike [Klis] asked that question about what can I do and what message can I send to the company. It just creates a greater sense of urgency, and then you have to maintain it. You cant just say, 'OK, we've gotten to 2018 and this happened or that happened.' There are no guarantees what happens in 2018. I can assure you we will do everything we can in the next six to seven months to get things back on track."
As 2010 turned into 2011, the Broncos certainly found a way to right the ship. The last game that season was played on Jan. 2, and Mr. B. named John to his new role with the team just three days later.
That was the beginning of the solution then, and it is at the heart of the solution now.
Passion and determination are part of the Elway dynamic, but panic is not.
He did not lead 47 fourth-quarter comebacks with anything less than the demeanor of having ice water in his veins, and Elway isn't any different in his current role.
Bronco fans should remember, "In John we trust."
Even now, Ellis remembers what Elway's return to the Broncos meant to the organization.
"We were in a certain place in 2010 that [Owner] Pat Bowlen and myself weren't very proud of and weren't very happy about," Ellis told the media. "John came in, and in many ways rescued us from that. I'm grateful for that. I believe in him and his work. Every time I have a conversation with him, there is logic and common sense to his approach. Nobody is more upset about this year than John Elway. I can assure you of that. I might be a close second, but he is the most competitive person I know. He is driven to win. I have full confidence that he will get us back to that status very quickly."
Indeed, who would you rather have leading this current comeback — right here, right now — than John Elway?
He oversees all football operations for the Broncos and that includes what is widely accepted as the search for a new player — or players — for Head Coach Van Joseph at the quarterback position.
The great Ring of Fame coach Dan Reeves once told me, "I know one thing for sure — we have no chance without a quarterback."
Dan's words rang true for Elway, Joseph and Broncos Country in 2017, despite the valiant efforts of everyone who took snaps last year.
It was Elway who signed Peyton Manning and thus created the only contract in NFL history bearing the signatures of two Hall of Fame quarterbacks — one already in, and one in waiting.
Lest we forget, the Broncos won the division and won every game against a divisional opponent for four straight years, went to the Super Bowl twice and won Super Bowl 50.
And it is Elway who will help make this ensuing quarterback decision as well, setting Joseph up for a far-more successful second season.
Elway's vision and aggressive approach have always been there for the Broncos, as a player and in the front office. Broncos fans should be extremely confident that — with plenty of hard work — history will repeat itself in the Mile High City.