NFL Season Preview

Broncos enter season with uncertainty regarding ownership

The Broncos start the season Sunday at the Giants with "the same cloud that has been hovering over the franchise for the last several years: A lack of clarity about the future," according to Ryan O'Halloran of the DENVER POST. Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis remains "at the top of the team’s masthead," but has "no interest in signing a new contract once his current agreement expires in March." The day after the season (Jan. 10, 2022) and late March at the annual league meeting in Florida is "the earliest the Broncos could go on the market and ultimately be sold." There is "no reason to think Ellis will move his timeline of presenting a transition plan," and if the team is put up for sale, the process could "move quickly and be presented to the other 31 teams for approval when the league convenes." The sale may "shatter the U.S. sports franchise record" of $2.35B (Nets) and the NFL record of $2.275B (Panthers). As a result of "the rise of legalized sports gambling," the trustees could "command a sale price of $5 billion" (DENVER POST, 9/9).

RIGHT-HAND WOMAN: In Denver, Ryan O'Halloran wrote Kelly Kleine is "aware of the platform she has and will provide mentorship to any young woman who seeks it," as she is "believed to be the NFL’s second highest-ranking woman on the football side of a team." Kleine’s title is "lengthy" -- Exec Dir of Football Operations and Special Advisor to GM George Paton -- and "so is her job description." She "supervises the team’s equipment and video departments, organizes the team’s pro/college scouting efforts, does pro scouting and is Paton’s top administrative hand." Paton, who supervised Kleine with the Vikings from '13-20, said, “She’s involved in everything. She is a liaison to a lot of different departments for me. She’s in charge of a number of things and is a sounding board for me.” Broncos Senior VP/Strategy Brittany Bowlen said, “She carries herself with confidence, but in a humble way and she’s incredibly talented at what she does." O'Halloran: Kleine understands "why her hire generated attention, but her approach hasn’t changed." Doing her job and team success could "lead to more opportunities." Kleine said, “If this helps one person realize that they can be whatever they want to be in the NFL, it gives me chills to think about that. But I’m just here to work" (DENVER POST, 9/7).

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