SBD/January 14, 2011/Franchises

Broncos Use Twitter, Website To Keep Fans Up-To-Date Under Elway

Elway has amassed more than 40,000 followers since his first Tweet on Jan. 5

The buzzword around Broncos HQs since John Elway was introduced as Exec VP/Football Operations last week has been "transparency," and the team "has followed through by having Elway break, confirm or clarify news directly via his new Twitter account, and allowing cameras from the team's website inside the interview room," according to Lindsay Jones of the DENVER POST. Part of the process included "securing the '@johnelway' name on Twitter, then teaching Elway how to use the social media site." Elway "sent his first message on Jan. 5 several hours after his introductory news conference, and over the past week" has posted 29 messages. Nearly all of his Tweets have been "related to the Broncos' coaching search," which concluded when the team hired John Fox Thursday. Elway has amassed more than 40,000 followers in a week, "more than any NFL executive other than commissioner Roger Goodell." Jones noted of the seven teams who have conducted or are in the midst of a coaching search, "only the Broncos -- through Elway's Twitter account and the team's website -- have announced their list of candidates and interview schedule, let alone published pictures and video from the interview process, almost in real-time." Candidates "each spoke on camera with a reporter from the team's website before their formal interviews, and those pieces were all published online." Nathan Whitaker, the agent for coaching candidates Perry Fewell and Mike Mularkey, said of the process, "Initially, I cringed when I saw the video come up, and my biggest concern was that, when you're pursuing a new job, you have to make sure not to upset your current employer. ... Beyond that, I think it is fantastic. I love it. Since Sunday, I've gotten calls from people around the league that saw the video and said: 'I had no idea about Perry. He's great'" (DENVER POST, 1/13). CBSSPORTS.com's Clark Judge wrote he liked Elway announcing the hiring of Fox -- "along with other Broncos' news -- via Twitter." Judge: "Finally, someone who cares about getting the message to his constituents" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/13).

MIND GAMES: Broncos President Joe Ellis said that the "biggest change was the involvement of ... 'a psychologist/headhunter' in the team's interviews" with coaching candidates. Ellis added that the "goal was to 'get underneath' the candidates, to see how they would function in the team's current structure with John Elway as the top football executive, and how they would react to certain situations that are likely to arise." The Broncos "used a consultant whom the Falcons and Chiefs used in their recent searches for a head coach" (DENVER POST, 1/14). ESPN.com's Bill Williamson wrote Fox was the "best candidate" the team interviewed, and his hiring "to resurrect the Broncos from the disastrous Josh McDaniels era was the right call." Williamson: "It was a terrific first move by Elway. The Broncos are inexperienced in the front office with Elway and general manager Brian Xanders. They needed a proven commodity in one facet of the leadership department, and Fox is it" (ESPN.com, 1/13).

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