From a PR perspective, one of the most interesting NFL teams
to watch in the past few years has been the Denver Broncos.
Not that long ago, the defending Super Bowl champions were a team in search of an identity. They had a quarterback problem and a suspect defense. Enter longtime Broncos Golden Boy, John Elway, who immediately began putting his stamp on the team. Job one - bring in a franchise quarterback.
Elway’s first move was to jettison marketing phenom Tim Tebow, the guy who won a playoff game in spectacular fashion, but just wasn’t good enough for Elway.
Then the windfall of all windfalls. The Colts parted ways with Peyton Manning. Elway snatched him up, neck problems and all. He knew what he had in Manning, even when the rest of the league was writing him off.
Then Manning was injured, missing several games, so Elway pivoted. In one offseason the team defined for decades by flashy offense became a defensive powerhouse. It took nearly half of last season for anyone outside of Denver to realize the Broncos were becoming a team that could win with just about anyone behind center. But they had Manning. So, of course, they won the Super Bowl. Then Manning rode off toward the sunset and more Papa John’s commercials.
Now Denver is back where they started. Good but aging defense and a big question mark behind center. Who will be the brand in Denver? Von Miller? He’s great, no question, but no defensive player will be the face of an Elway team.
So who then? They have Mark Sanchez, but all of us here in NY can tell you how that will probably go. Maybe Sanchez can resurrect his career…but that’s a big if.
Some ESPN analysts claim the Broncos starting QB isn’t even on the roster yet. That might give fans some hope, but it doesn’t do much for the team from a PR perspective. How can you promote - how can you sell season tickets when fans don’t know what to expect on the field.
Was there ever a time when a defending Super Bowl champion inspired this much fear in a fan base?