In late December, I participated in an ESPN.com vote for the NFL executive of the year.
I voted for Denver’s John Elway. In that poll, he was edged by Seattle’s John Schneider. There isn’t an official executive the year award. However, the Sporting News awards one in which coaches and executives vote for. On Monday, it was announced that Indianapolis’ Ryan Grigson won the award by one vote over Elway.
Am I outraged by that result because I voted for Elway last month? No.
Grigson did a heck of a job, building the Colts from a team that had the No.1 pick in the draft to one that made the playoffs.
This is what I wrote in December to explain my Elway vote: I voted for Elway because few moves he has made have been wrong. Of course, it starts with the signing of (Peyton) Manning. I know the argument is anyone can try to sign Manning, and recognizing Manning’s importance isn’t all that’s special. True.
But Elway is the reason why Manning chose Denver. So, Elway gets credit for bringing him to the franchise. There were plenty of teams that wanted Manning. Elway won the sweepstakes, and he deserves kudos. He also added several key pieces, whether on the coaching staff or on the roster. Remember, Elway inherited a 4-12 team that was No. 32 in the NFL in defense just two seasons ago.
I felt Elway deserved the award and many in the Sporting News vote did as well. But seeing Grigson win over Elway isn’t exactly a travesty. It was earned.