Wed, Mar 21, 2012
While fans of Tim Tebow will likely vehemently disagree, I’d have to put John Elway, executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos, in the running for manager of the year. And not just NFL manager of the year — anybody’s manager of the year. Let me be the first to acknowledge that I enjoyed Tebowmania and Tebow Time as much as anyone. As I wrote here during football season, I thought Tebow and his coach Jon Fox did a masterful job of figuring out how to use his skillset to maximum advantage. For most of their run together, Elway came across as the wet blanket at the party. He was polite but sparing in his praise for Tebow because he couldn’t see a long-term plan for winning with the guy. Elway may have been right or wrong on that call. We won’t know how it plays out for the Broncos on that front because Elway went out and got himself Peyton Manning this week.
In moving Tebow aside for Manning, Elway did what a lot of managers have to do or at least should do. In his assessment, he had a good guy working for him that he didn’t think was going to work out over the long run. Especially with the pressure from Tebow fans in Denver and across the country, it would have been easy for Elway to keep Tim, let it ride and see what happened. After all, things could get better. (How many times have you heard that in performance management discussions?) Instead, Elway decided to make the move and go out and get the best quarterback available for his team.
Here are three lessons from Elway that I think managers should keep in mind for the next time they face a talent management dilemma: