The Denver Broncos have recognizable leaders. Owner Pat Bowlen, Vice President John Elway, Head Coach John Fox and Quarterback Peyton Manning share a one track mind mentality in regards to the 2013 season. It’s Super Bowl or Bust. However, is this the most effective leadership strategy to land the Broncos with the Lombardi Trophy at years end?
The Denver Broncos Reasoning
A lot rides on the Broncos securing a Super Bowl Championship this season. They have a messy salary cap situation next year, which will have to be addressed. Denver is haunted by the Baltimore Ravens loss last season, when it seemed the Broncos were destined to ride into the orange sunset with Peyton. For coach Fox, anything less than a Super Bowl could mean unemployment.
The Broncos have always been a franchise to judge success based on going to the Super Bowl. The franchise is tied for third all time in Super Bowl appearances with six and is continually held up as one of the torch-bearing organizations in the league. However, Denver’s mindset for the Super Bowl is more expanded as the Vegas Odds favorites.
As Peyton Manning told Woody Paige of the Denver Post, he has played for a long time and feels a since of urgency for himself and Champ Bailey, who has never won a Super Bowl. There’s no longer time to build up momentum for next year.
This is the mindset of the entire team. John Elway called for toughness from the Broncos in the offseason and said that owner Bowlen wants to win championships, plural. Elway also believes that a couple more Super Bowls will end the greatest quarterback conversation, with Manning coming out on top.
Everyone publicly is on board with the Super Bowl at all cost mentality. So how do you turn the goal of a Super Bowl into a positive strategy?
The Super Bowl Plan
First, the Super Bowl may be the focus, but it is not the only concern. Think of the Super Bowl mantra as a Mission Statement for the club. The Colorado Avalanche did this on the way to their 2001 Stanley Cup, with their slogan, “One Team, One Goal.” The collective goal sets the agenda.
The Super Bowl is not simply a task to check off a list. The Super Bowl is all that matters falls flat if the team looks too far ahead. Every game is a building block towards the goal. This regular season becomes imperative to future success. Each game, each bit of adversity, is a dress rehearsal for the big game in New York next February.
To guide the Mission Statement, the Broncos must reframe the goal everyday. What is the best strategy for making the Super Bowl? What weaknesses do they need to shore up? How can today translate into the ultimate goal down the road? To achieve the Super Bowl, these questions must constantly refocus the team.
The Broncos big picture view gets them out of setting small goals to look like they’re only taking steps, but they must keep the Super Bowl in context. In August, the goal of a Super Bowl seems very vague. The team must continually look for the path forward and the Broncos appear to do be doing this.
Their offense is trying to move faster. The Broncos brought in new weapons, including Wes Welker, and they created an arsenal of options. Manning expects one hundred percent commitment from his teammates. Denver looks to every member of the organization to continue the march to Super Bowl XLVIII.
Following Elway’s Lead
The worst thing the Broncos could do is believe they have reached the point of perfection. People point to arrogance as the reason the Broncos lost last year to the Ravens because they felt they were indestructible after a long winning streak. While I think the game was more likely a fluke, every aspect of their performance must be questioned.
Peyton Manning, John Elway and John Fox have all been to the Super Bowl before. Trying to match this year’s drive to any other year will chain the teams everyone must be on the same page for this team’s strategy to work.
The disturbing thing about Denver’s offseason is the individual problems. The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil because they missed a deadline, two executives were arrested on DUI charges and Von Miller found himself facing a possible suspension. These things became distractions rather than the team creating momentum towards achieving the main goal.
The Broncos can say their goal is a Super Bowl. They can develop consequences for individuals if the goal is not achieved, as Elway has. The Broncos can even come up with an effective strategy for success. Without a commitment everyday to forging a new path ahead from everyone in the organization, there’s a better chance the Ravens game repeats itself this season.