Admitting you’re wrong is never easy, no matter who you are. But when you’re in charge of a professional football team with millions of fans (and millions upon millions of dollars on the line), it gets harder to publicly say, “I screwed up.”
John Elway doesn’t have that fear — at least on one particular subject. The former quarterback and current general manager of the Denver Broncos didn’t hesitate to admit he was wrong in hiring Vance Joseph as head coach two years ago. Elway spoke to ProFootballTalk’s Peter King, who published Elway’s comments in his Football Morning in America column, about hiring the recently fired Broncos coach.
“I talked to [Vance Joseph] before the process a couple of years ago, and knew him, and going in, I had an idea that he was kind of our guy. 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 took care to explain why he was wrong to hire Joseph. It wasn’t just because he ended up firing Joseph after he led the Broncos to their first back-to-back losing seasons since the early 1970s. It was because Elway feels like he didn’t do his due diligence in the hiring process. He said that he knew Joseph before the interview process started, and had already formed the opinion that he was the man for the job.
“The key thing I learned in the coach-selection process: Cover your bases thoroughly and get the best candidates that you can and don’t make your mind up going in. 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.”
Broncos fans everywhere are hoping Elway has learned from the past. Vic Fangio, the Broncos new head coach, is Elway’s fourth head coach in eight years as Broncos GM and executive vice president of football operations. That history might have Fangio wondering how long he’ll have to succeed before Elway starts questioning his latest hiring decision.
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