This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When the Denver Broncos meet again in two weeks for training camp, they will do so with changes at almost every level of the franchise.
The team’s new ownership group is led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner, her husband Greg Penner and also includes co-CEO of Ariel Investments as well as chairman of Starbucks Mellody Hobson and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Their $ 4.65 billion purchase of the franchise is expected to be approved by the NFL in the coming weeks.
The changes do not end there. Coach Nathaniel Hackett and his staff arrived in January, and general manager George Paton has only been on the job since January 2021. This is the first time since 1981 – when Edgar Kaiser became the team’s main owner, Dan Reeves became coach and General Manager Grady Alderman – The Broncos have had the team owner, head coach and GM all arrived in such a short time.
Throw in exchange for quarterback Russell Wilson in March, and the Broncos have had revenue for the past 19 months in all the most essential positions in an NFL franchise.
“It’s change, man,” said Broncos guard Dalton Risner, a 26-year-old Wiggins, Colorado native who has routinely said he has followed the team all his life. “A lot of change. We all think it’s for the better, we’re all fine with where we’re headed, but you can not hide from change around here. It’s everywhere.”
Back in 1981, the Broncos had no Super Bowl trophies and only one Super Bowl appearance. They now have three such trophies and have reached the title fight eight times. Among the changes the new regime hopes to make is a return to the playoffs, which the Broncos have not done since winning the Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season.
“I think if you’ve been in this league long enough, you know you’ll always be evaluated,” Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb said. “It’s every year. But without a doubt, it’s different. It’s just different. But everyone knows the tradition here, and everyone wants to go back to it.”
Paton, who led the search for a new coach earlier this year and has had the authority to make all football decisions since his arrival, has consistently answered all questions about the change at the top with “our job is to win, to put ourselves in a position to to win and do it in the long run in the right way. “
It has been a message that has been sucked in. Be essentially successful, help the team win and all decision makers will be happy.
“It will never end,” Hackett said at the end of the team’s minicamp last month. “No matter how many years you go, you will always evolve and get better.”
“I think it’s about understanding what’s going on, but also about understanding that you have to do what’s necessary in your own job, at the bottom of it all,” Risner said. “Just that thought I want to grind myself off. For me, I want to fit into any training program, they ask me to fit in if I have to put on 40 pounds or lose 40 pounds, whatever I have to do out there, I want to define how I approach it how I handle it.