—Hiring John Fox, a coach with a 73-71 career record, was not considered a slam-dunk choice. Elway concedes he didn't know Fox that well.
"But you looked at this building when I got here and everyone was so demoralized," Elway said. "One thing that stuck with me was John's positive attitude. He was outgoing, friendly, positive. To me, that was the No. 1 characteristic. He was someone who could get this organization rehabilitated, get everyone excited about playing football again."
By setting aside conventional wisdom, Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy retooled their offense in 2011 and built a team that made the playoffs with Tebow at quarterback.
Now, with Manning, the coaching staff has re-created itself again. They are building around Manning, who has paid back the favor by becoming the NFL's top-rated quarterback through nine games.
"Everyone wants to look at the strength of his arm, but one thing they sometimes overlook is that he's tremendously accurate," Elway said. "He throws a very catchable ball. The accuracy part is not given enough credit."
Much has been made of the intrinsic quarterback-to-quarterback connection between Elway, the last quarterback to bring a Super Bowl to the Broncos, and Manning, who was brought to Denver to be the next one.
Elway says there were never any questions about Manning's work ethic and, at least from the Broncos perspective, the health issue was resolved.
"But there was, no question, a down side. It wasn't unanimous" around the league, Elway said. "I guess because I was the one sitting in the chair who had to openly make that decision, it was going to fall in my lap. I knew that. And I knew there were a lot of people out there who said 'No way,' who have probably changed their mind by now."
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