SBD/September 8, 2011/NFL Season Preview

NFL Franchise Notes: Broncos Enter First Season Under John Elway's Control

Elway stresses importance of winning, connection with Broncos fans
In Denver, Mike Klis reports Pro Football HOFer John Elway is moving "on to the next stage of his life," as he enters his first season as Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations. Elway "has a vision for the Broncos," one that contains "noticeable traces of nostalgia, yet not clouded with emotion." He said, "I've always thought about this organization and its always representing class. ... I'm not trying to say it hasn't been run with class, but I think there's been a lot of episodes in the last four or five years that we never had before." Elway added, "This has to be a place that wins, but it also has to be a place where Broncos fans never lose their connection." Meanwhile, MLB Rangers President & CEO Nolan Ryan, himself a HOFer in his sport, said of the transition Elway faces going to the front office, "The side that's going to be a challenge for him is that as a player, whether it's football or baseball, there's so many facets of responsibilities that he has now. So he's going to have a learning curve" (DENVER POST, 9/8).

HEAR THEM ROAR
: In Detroit, Bill Shea noted a "cadre of talented young players who have shown flashes of brilliance" along with a front office and coaching staff that have "earned praise from the national media have translated into an improving financial picture for the Lions." Team President Tom Lewand said, "We are pleased with where we are in all of our key business metrics. We're seeing double-digit growth in almost every area to date." Those areas include "suite sales and corporate sponsorship investment," and Lewand noted that the Lions "added Quicken Loans as a corporate sponsor this year and expanded current deals with McDonald's and Meijer." He also said that season ticket sales "are doing better than 2010, which in turn were up over the previous year" (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 9/4).

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS: In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell wrote he feels the "chances of the Rams taking up permanent residence here in St. Louis are far more promising than I would have ever expected." Signs "point to the city and state working out a deal" that will keep Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "satisfied even if there is no way we can ever give him a stadium that belongs in the upper tier of NFL stadiums." The Missouri legislature Monday announced that it would discuss a bill "that would allow state legislators to pass a law that would provide incentives to lure amateur sports events" to the state, such as the NCAA Final Four. That could make St. Louis a "more attractive place" to hold events, and anything that makes the Edward Jones Dome "more attractive to the NCAA will benefit the Rams." There is now "reason to believe that the local and state government will act wisely in negotiations to keep Kroenke from pulling up stakes." Meanwhile, sources said that at "no point in any discussions with local officials concerning the dome lease has Kroenke ever brought up relocating the franchise back to L.A." (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/7).
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