“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” - John Maxwell
This quote explains what Michael Jordan and John Elway did as elite athletes in their sports. By the same token, it also shows the disconnect that they have with the younger players when they move into front office roles.
Michael Jordan is considered by many as the best to play professional basketball. His airness failed miserably however as he attempted to parlay his talents into running the operations of a team. When Jordan took over as President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards, he made bad trades and followed that up with horrific draft choices. Sources close to the situation reported that Jordan couldn't lead the young athletes. He expected the same out of his players that he did out of himself. This, for obvious reasons, was not going to happen. How could he expect these kids to play like one of the greatest of all-times?
The most storied choice of Jordan's front office career, is the Kwame Brown pick, the high school kid who Jordan selected with the first overall pick. It's said that Jordan broke this kid will by putting the weight of the franchise on him. Jordan expected way too much out of him and the criticism from one of the game's greats, was too much to deal with. Put yourself in Kwame's shoes. One minute you're attending your high school prom and the next, your idol is screaming at you and expecting more than you can deliver.
The John Elway front office comparison isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it's close enough to wonder if the same outcome can become expected. Recently John Elway was just named, Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos, will be factoring in the choices for draft picks and free agent signings.
Since the moment Elway took the position, the scrutiny involving Tim Tebow has intensified. Elway started that himself when he said that Tebow has a lot to improve on. New Head Coach John Fox has also stated that Kyle Orton will be the starter. Although it was only for a short period of time, Tebow took a team without a coach that had no momentum and had quit on the season, and found a way to win with them, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I believe that Elway is comparing Tebow to himself. He's doing exactly what Jordan did and expecting the kid to play like HE did in his prime.
The Broncos feel that they have someone in Elway that knows the quarterback position better than anyone else. While that may be true, it doesn't mean that equates to evaluating quarterback talent. Denver has said that they will look at some of the top quarterbacks in this draft in depth. They spent a 1st round pick and more last year on Tebow. Neither John Elway nor the current coaching was involved in that pick, but the franchise did give up a lot for Tebow. From Tebow’s body of work as a winner in college and the limited work we have seen of him in the NFL, he certainly seems at least worthy of getting a shot before drafting another rookie quarterback so high.
The Broncos will be making a huge mistake if they take any quarterback with the #2 pick as their defense is in shambles. With the second pick they could possibly get Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, or Marcell Dareus. All of those players are franchise defensive players and this team has so many holes on defense, that any of them would be an upgrade at those positions. A rookie quarterback could be actually be a downgrade given the fact that we don’t really know how good Tebow could be. In my opinion, I don't think Denver should use a 2nd round pick on a quarterback either, but if they want to draft a QB, there will still be plenty of talented ones left on the board there.
Hopefully for John Elway he realizes that quarterbacks like himself don't come out every year and is able to separate the quarterbacks he's accessing from realistic expectations. If all it took was knowing the game/position, then John’s father, college coach Jack Elway would have been the QB will all the fame and glory and not his son. "Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach."
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & NFL On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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