The second-biggest sports story this week (besides Kendall Marshall’s wrist injury) is that quarterback Peyton Manning decided to sign with the Denver Broncos. Columnists are praising John Elway, the legendary Broncos quarterback and current Executive VP of Football Operations, for coordinating the biggest free-agent signing in NFL history.
As a former Denver resident, I am excited for the Broncos and Manning. But I was most impressed with Elway at the press conference to introduce Manning. Elway is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, a first-ballot Hall of Famer who holds NFL records for games won as a starter and Super Bowl appearances. Elway is also fourth all-time for career passing yards. The guy in third place? Peyton Manning.
Some legends like to protect their legacy or breathe a sigh of relief when their records remain intact. But Elway not only pursued Manning, he made it very clear in the press conference that he hopes Manning will pass him in every category in the record books. “My goal is to make Peyton Manning the best quarterback to play the game,” Elway declared. That’s what makes Elway not just a great football executive, but a great leader.
Are you working to make your teammates and staff the best to ever play the game, even if it seems to threaten your own records? In the end, your most important legacy may be how you developed those under your leadership, not how you performed when you were the starter.