John Elway’s Classless Scapegoating of Vance Joseph

John Elway was very high on Vance Joseph when he hired him in 2017, but after firing the former Broncos head coach, Elway says he regrets the hire.

Denver Broncos front office shot-caller John Elway is still eating off that Peyton Manning-Von Miller Super Bowl in 2015. Elway became Executive VP of Football Operations/General Manager in 2012 and won the Manning sweepstakes that offseason.

That was the last boss move he’s made. 

Manning arrived in 2013, started breaking more records and his last hoorah was leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, once he retired, Elway’s flaws as a GM began to reveal themselves as he’s driven this current Denver team into the ground. They are a compilation of mediocre pieces and have been overrated for the past few years.

His hirings are suspect too. Elway has now hired four coaches and fired two, including highly-touted Vance Joseph after two losings seasons.

Elway was very high on Joseph when he hired him, but the tandem didn’t have the immediate success that Broncos fans were used too. Instead of taking the blame for some questionable moves as GM, Elway has decided to officially throw Joseph under the bus. reports that Elway now admits that hiring Joseph was a mistake.


“I talked to [Vance Joseph] before the process a couple of years ago [when hiring Gary Kubiak], and knew him, and going in, I had an idea that he was kind of our guy,” Elway told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “I admit it. I was wrong on that one. I don’t like to say it out loud because I don’t want to offend VJ, who is a good football coach. But things didn’t work out.”

Elway’s implying that Joseph wasn’t up to the task, but what’s that Denver team as currently constructed supposed to do in a division with two 12-win teams in the Chargers and Chiefs.

Elway basically says he jumped the gun in hiring Joseph.

“Cover your bases thoroughly and get the best candidates that you can and don’t make your mind up going in,” Elway now explains. “Don’t draw any conclusions before you go into the coaching interviews. Take each interview in the moment and do not pre-draw it. Don’t combine it with the other ones and don’t make your mind up when you walk out. Be as thorough as you can and try to find the right guy that fits your job at that point in time. So that’s what I learned. I’ve probably pre-drawn my thought process going in before.”

Elway’s obviously more concerned with keeping his job than making sure Joseph’s reputation isn’t too tarnished to secure another head coaching job. Everyone forgets to mention how Joseph took over a declining team, despite the fact that they had been to the playoffs five straight years.

The season before Joseph arrived, they started showing chinks in the armor and sunk to 9-7. Elway has tried to further damage Joseph’s reputation to deflect criticism that should be coming his way. The Cardinals didn’t buy it, but no matter what Elways says going forward, the damage is done. 


Elway is proving to be a GM who may not be capable of running the Broncos organization. After Joseph’s first year at the helm, Elway admitted that he didn’t provide his coach with the talent and tools he needed to be successful. So with little changes, an even worse roster and a journeyman quarterback at the controls, Elway somehow expected a different result in 2018?

Everyone with a football pulse knows that Joseph couldn’t compete against two 12-win teams within their own division with the squad Elway handed him. But let Elway tell it and Joseph just didn’t have the talent to get the job done.

Elway must have though Joseph was a magician because David Copperfield is the only person who could make the Broncos a contender. Elway’s throwing heavy shade and playing into the ignorance of the fans by insinuating that Joseph just didn’t have the goods.  The only goods Joseph lacked was elite players and a QB.

It’s Elway’s job as the major talent evaluator to get Joseph those pieces.  


As soon as a team has a rough streak of losing seasons, the fans and media forget how head coaching jobs work. Unless you have broad decision-making powers and special input on personnel decisions, then you are playing cards with someone else’s hand.

That’s often the case with new coaches, especially minority hires. They get the head coach stamp, but don’t have the power to select the players they will be coaching. Then they have to take the fall for poor executive management.

Elway’s inability to secure a top flight quarterback and offense for Joseph implies that Elway is out of touch.

Championship teams start at the top and Elway hasn’t seemed to figure out this GM thing yet, but that’s not Vance Joseph’s fault. 

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