Being the son of a football coach, John Elway saw firsthand the pressures that they go through. Jack Elway was a head coach for thirteen season – spending time at Cal State Northridge, San Jose State and Stanford – and John realized it wore on him.
Looking back on that time, speaking only to the experiences with his father, John witnessed the selfless nature of the occupation.
“I was always on my dad. They get so tied up into this football team and what they got to do for the football team—especially as a head coach,” Elway said with a twinge of emotion in his voice. “They put everybody in front and realize and they kind of forget about themselves and so hopefully coaches will take better care of themselves. A lot of them do—I know that.”
Jack passed away in 2001 from an apparent heart attack.
The current Vice President of Football Operations for the Broncos didn’t want to compare what happened to John Fox and Gary Kubiak over the weekend with his father. It’s not a fact across all head coach in the NFL and otherwise, but to John the stresses that head coaches put on themselves seems to be a disturbing commonality.
“In a lot of coaches’ minds that’s the mentality. They’re all about the football team and when they’re leader of the men that they are and the pressure that goes with it their mentality—they have tunnel vision,” he said.
John didn’t think about placing himself as interim head coach, basing the decision on the fact that Jack Del Rio had the requisite experience to fill in.