1983 draft followup story
I attended a talk by Jim Saccomono, the longtime pr director of the broncos, last night. I asked him about the recent espn documentary on the 1983 draft (elway to marino). He provided these additional details:
Bronco owner Edgar Kaiser had asked Saccomono months before if it was worth going after Elway. "He's the best quarterback prospect since Joe Namath, but you'll never get him" was the reply. Kaiser was not deterred. "Everything has a price" he said.
The coaching staff at the time was real skeptical of Kaiser in his pursuit of Elway. Edgar pressed on.
After the Colts drafted Elway, then Broncos tight end coach Fran Polsfoot left a message for Jack Elway asking how Jack and his son were doing. Polsfoot was a former college roommate of Jack Elway. The Broncos were surprised when Jack Elway called Polsfoot back - this connection gave the broncos an "in" to the elway camp and they found out that John would be open to playing for the Broncos. Polsfoot would die of brain cancer two years later (1985).
Kaiser, as the espn documentary detailed, did the trade with Colts owner Robert Irsay, bypassing the Colts GM and coach.
Saccomono said the trade was agreed to at 1 pm that day, but they had to get Elway signed to a contract. They flew Elway out in a private jet. No contract and the deal was off. Elway agreed to terms that night and the team held a press conference at 10:30 pm to announce it.
Because the press conference was so late, the Broncos had another press conference the following day with Elway. After the 2nd press conference Elway said to Saccomono something like "I'm sure glad all this press attention is over with" Saccomono laughed, thinking "it's only just beginning, kid". To this day Elway and Saccomono still joke about that.
Edgar Kaiser was not the best owner (he once asked Randy Gradishar to take a pay cut) but he'll always have a place in Broncos history for being the man who brought Elway to the Broncos.