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Sundays with Sacco: Elway's transformation retains his drive

A few days ago, I asked the question, "What will Elway do?" as part of the theme of my column on how much weight rests on his decisions.

We know now that John moved up in the draft, as he did a year ago to draft Shane Ray out of Missouri, this time making a dramatic move to select Paxton Lynch, quarterback from the University of Memphis.

Behind the scenes in the Broncos War Room during day 3 of the NFL draft.

There is just no end to the poker-playing ability of John Elway as General Manager.

He is stone cold on behalf of the Broncos, never tipping his hand for a second.

I, for one, am not surprised, I got to watch him every day for 16 years as the greatest quarterback of his generation (and of many others), and not many NFL teams have been led by competitors as fierce as Elway.

When he reached up in the draft to take Lynch, I was reminded once again not just of his leadership and player evaluation acumen, but of the fact that the NFL is a quarterback's league, and it is always good to have a top one.

Yes, it is a quarterback's league.

And since he has been the Broncos' general manager he has signed the greatest free agent quarterback in NFL history, Peyton Manning; he drafted an outstanding young quarterback, Brock Osweiler, who is going to have a fine NFL career; he traded for a former first-round draft choice, the fifth pick in his year's draft, Mark Sanchez.

Elway knows quarterbacks, and he knows the value of quarterbacks.


Of the 50 Super Bowl victories, 31 have been won by just 12 guys. Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady have four each, Troy Aikman has three, and eight quarterbacks have each won two, including (listed chronologically, just to be polite) Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Ben Roethlisburger, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

Yes, Elway knows quarterbacks, and he shows the same crazed competitiveness (a compliment, John) as general manager as he did every single day as a player.

He is relentless. He never stopped as a player, and he never stops now.

In many ways, the current four-decade history of the Broncos has been written by the right arm of John Elway, first holding a football and now a pen to sign contracts -- that is, when that right hand is not gripping a cup of black coffee, the ubiquitous mark of the classic personnel man.

Elway's transfer is complete, from the classic quarterback who was the measure of greatness, to the classic player personnel man, still making all the gutsy calls with the game on the line.

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