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John Elway, the Broncos' vice president of football operations and general manager, stands on the sideline during the team's Nov. 19 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos lost the game, extending its losing streak to six, and then lost the following week to the Oakland Raiders.
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
John Elway, the Broncos’ vice president of football operations and general manager, stands on the sideline during the team’s Nov. 19 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos lost the game, extending its losing streak to six, and then lost the following week to the Oakland Raiders.
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After winning the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, the Broncos — pride of the Rockies — have fallen.

Oh, how they have fallen.

Colorado wept with quarterback Paxton Lynch last Sunday after a disastrous loss to the Oakland Raiders that extended the Broncos’ losing streak to seven games — the team’s longest in 50 years — and almost suspended any hope of saving face with five games remaining.

A revival of what is ostensibly the worst Broncos team to take the field in decades will take real leadership from the mastermind of The Drive, the Broncos legend, the one-time car salesman of choice — John Elway.

Elway has proven himself to be a worthy leader as the team’s head of football operations.  The Broncos enjoyed a rapid return to the top from the time Elway joined the Broncos’ front office in 2011 to the 2013 season’s Super Bowl that sadly ended in an unforgettable trouncing by the Seahawks.

Then came the decision to hire defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for the 2015 season and the rise of a formidable defense that took the Broncos back to the Super Bowl, this time bringing home the Lombardi Trophy to a sea of orange and blue in Denver’s Civic Center.

But Colorado shouldn’t have to wait another 17 years to be at the top, and as far as the team has fallen this year, it seems possible a turnaround could take a long time.

Elway needs to get things under control. Losing Phillips was a mistake, and it appears that hiring Vance Joseph as head coach was a bigger mistake. Joseph appears to be in over his head.

It’s not fair to put all the blame on Joseph for the team’s failure, though. The leaders who threw him into the arena and let him flounder own that responsibility. Elway should be empowering his pick for head coach, not calling the team “soft” and waiting to see just how badly Joseph can fail. It’s not too late for Joseph to prove his mettle as head coach, but he needs support.

Fights on the field, fights in practices, tears on the sideline and in the locker room, and a revolving door at quarterback that led to the Oakland disaster — all of this and more land at Elway’s feet.

He must respond and demand that these remaining five games represent the Mile High brand the way Colorado fans have come to expect. It’s only appropriate for this editorial board to opine on these demoralizing developments. The franchise represents so much for this city: an economic driver, a unifying force in the community and occupants of a heavily taxpayer-subsidized facility.

When quarterback Trevor Siemian took the field last Sunday for the first time after losing his starting position earlier this season, he gave fans hope — a brief glimmer of what our team could look like with a steady hand behind center.

Siemian may not be the long-term answer at quarterback. If not, Elway needs to start looking for a quarterback for 2018 who can stop this free-fall.

Few figures are as synonymous with the Broncos as Elway. What a shame it would be should he not be able to put this storied franchise back together.

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