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Old 01-13-2011, 02:30 PM  
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In Denver: The Anti-Pioli

Elway's tweets highlight Broncos' new emphasis on transparency as secrecy gets the boot
Broncos' coach search becomes open book
By Lindsay H. Jones
The Denver Post
Posted: 01/13/2011 01:00:00 AM MSTUpdated: 01/13/2011 09:04:01 AM MST

From coaching searches to free-agent signings to in-season injuries and game-day inactives, NFL teams tend to treat information as classified, the type of super secrets reserved for the military.

In the past week, Dove Valley has flipped that notion 180 degrees.

The buzzword around the team facility since the team introduced John Elway as the executive vice president of football operations a week ago has been "transparency." The team has followed through by having Elway break, confirm or clarify news directly via his new Twitter account, and allowing cameras from the team's website inside the interview room.

"There has been a lot of discussion about the Broncos. We want to have a loud, credible voice in that conversation," said Patrick Smyth, the Broncos' executive director of media relations, who set up Elway with his Twitter account.

The strategy is nearly unprecedented in the world of professional sports, so much so that Smyth said the team didn't have a model to follow. Plenty of teams have members of the public relations staff post news updates online, but none has gone so far with an executive.

"It's a reflection of the time we live in, where technology has made the world smaller, faster, more exciting," said Brian McCarthy, the NFL's VP of corporate communications. "What we've seen from what's happening with (Elway) is that maybe it doesn't have to be just your PR guy who is out there. Can you get more team personnel involved? More coaches? A general manager?"

Part of the Broncos' process included securing the "@johnelway" name on Twitter, then teaching Elway how to use the social media site. Elway sent his first message on Jan. 5 several hours after his introductory news conference, and over the past week he has posted 22 messages, nearly all related to the Broncos' coaching search. Elway sends the messages from his Mac desktop computer or from his phone, though he has dictated messages to a member of the public relations staff. Elway has amassed nearly 40,000 followers in a week, more than any NFL executive other than commissioner Roger Goodell, who has more than 100,000 followers.

Of the seven teams who have conducted or are in the midst of a coaching search, only the Broncos — through Elway's Twitter account and the team's website — have announced their list of candidates and interview schedule, let alone published pictures and video from the interview process, almost in real-time. Candidates each spoke on camera with a reporter from the team's website before their formal interviews, and those pieces were all published online.

"Initially, I cringed when I saw the video come up, and my biggest concern was that, when you're pursuing a new job, you have to make sure not to upset your current employer. But that was my only concern," said Nathan Whitaker, the agent for both Perry Fewell, who interviewed on Sunday, and Mike Mularkey, who was a candidate before withdrawing his name last week. "Beyond that, I think it is fantastic. I love it. Since Sunday, I've gotten calls from people around the league that saw the video and said: 'I had no idea about Perry. He's great.' "

The first sign of change came Dec. 6, when the team announced the firing of coach Josh McDaniels via Twitter. Throughout December, team officials, including current president Joe Ellis and Smyth, concocted a groundbreaking media strategy, one designed to "complement" traditional media outlets such as newspapers and television while making their own website a destination for news as well.

The team insists the policy isn't a direct reaction to the McDaniels Era — a two-year period when secrecy was the norm, as it is with most NFL teams. Under McDaniels, the team often waited weeks to announce or confirm news such as coaching hires or offseason free-agent signings. During the season, McDaniels refused to talk about injuries or rehash personnel moves. By the end of McDaniels' tenure, especially after he and the team were each fined $50,000 for a videotaping incident in London, there was a clear disconnect between the team and its fan base.

"It was important to us to reach our fans directly and in the most personal way, and it was important to restore some of the credibility in our organization that might have been lost in a challenging season," Smyth said. "We owe that to our fans."

It is unclear if the team will be as transparent with bad news, such as player arrests.

The team, on its website or via Twitter, did not report that New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams withdrew his name from consideration in the coaching search earlier this week.

The team also has not yet decided how the transparency plan will carry over to the new head coach, to events such as free agency and the draft, and into the regular season. None of the five candidates who interviewed this week balked at the open process.

Currently, Seattle's Pete Carroll and Detroit's Jim Schwartz are the only coaches to actively use Twitter. Carroll's posts are most often about music and Schwartz's about movies. Regardless of how much the new coach, whoever he may be, participates, the organization as a whole has no plans to back off, Smyth said.

"To us, it seems like the obvious and right thing to do with the way things are changing," Smyth said. "At the most basic level, right now, people no longer search for news. News finds them, and we wanted to go after it in a proactive, aggressive and open manner."

Lindsay H. Jones: 303-954-1262 or ljones@denverpost.com

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci...mpaign=twitter
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
DaFace DaFace is offline
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As much as I hate to admit it, I actually like this. I don't really get why teams like to treat information as if it were a matter of national security. It'll be interesting to see what (if any) pitfalls they run into.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
King_Chief_Fan King_Chief_Fan is offline
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lets's wait to see how it works out before we crown their ass
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
Mile High Mania Mile High Mania is offline
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Enh, if anyone thinks that everything is going to be out in the open, they're crazy. I don't have an issue with this stuff... they're trying to be on the cutting edge with this stuff and it drives more people to their site. Fans love being informed, so they're sharing what they think they want to see and hear.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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Initially, I cringed when I saw the video come up, and my biggest concern was that, when you're pursuing a new job, you have to make sure not to upset your current employer. But that was my only concern," said Nathan Whitaker, the agent for both Perry Fewell, who interviewed on Sunday, and Mike Mularkey, who was a candidate before withdrawing his name last week.

I am willing to bet this is why so many names came up who later did not interview. I don't ever remember a coaching search where so many candidates balked at being interviewed after being mentioned as "in the running".
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Elway is going to Finish that franchise off. What a great addition by Bowlen. I'm just giddy about it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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I think Elway is going to be a problem for Denver.

I love everything about how Pioli conducts himself. He's all business, which is what ever team needs out of that position.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:31 PM   #8
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Transparency in the NFL isn't a good thing. I don't know what the Broncos are thinking.

When you let the public in on information, they scrutinize. And when the public scrutinizes, front offices tend to become very defensive. I doubt Elway is ready for that. If it's about better using social media, etc... fine. But why in the world would you publish your team's interview schedule? If you're another team that badly wants a coaching candidate, what's to stop you from undercutting Denver and putting that coach on a plane to your offices?
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile High Mania View Post
Enh, if anyone thinks that everything is going to be out in the open, they're crazy. I don't have an issue with this stuff... they're trying to be on the cutting edge with this stuff and it drives more people to their site. Fans love being informed, so they're sharing what they think they want to see and hear.
I agree I actually like it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:34 PM   #10
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Maybe all the Donks fans need their own forum on here so they stop polluting the front page.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:34 PM   #11
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I don't really get why teams like to treat information as if it were a matter of national security.
Because of the MEDIA.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:36 PM   #12
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Transparency in the NFL isn't a good thing. I don't know what the Broncos are thinking.

When you let the public in on information, they scrutinize. And when the public scrutinizes, front offices tend to become very defensive. I doubt Elway is ready for that. If it's about better using social media, etc... fine. But why in the world would you publish your team's interview schedule? If you're another team that badly wants a coaching candidate, what's to stop you from undercutting Denver and putting that coach on a plane to your offices?
That's a fair point and I think obviously you still have to keep things secret. I doubt you will see them post game plans and meetings.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:43 PM   #13
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It occurs to me that a reputation for honesty and transparency would be very useful when you're trying to hide something. Pioli's fixation on secrecy mostly spurs random speculation on things that don't really need to be secret. A reputation for being open and honest could be very useful when you actually want to keep a secret. Fewer questions. Very Machiavellian of them, the sinister bastards.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
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That's a fair point and I think obviously you still have to keep things secret. I doubt you will see them post game plans and meetings.
I think there are a lot of things that can go wrong. I don't see any value at all in letting players and coaches be public about what they're doing. Their job is to win football games, not fill seats. I'm sort of a nerd like that. To me, every minute a coach wastes tweeting or playing to the crowd is a minute he could have spent gameplanning.

More importantly, think of how many ways it could have gone wrong. I think Bowe's story went away so quickly because every player/coach/staff member was so well coached on how to ignore the media when they pry for questions. On the Weis issue, think about how much of a distraction that would have been if Haley was defensive or if a staff member leaked out information about their relationship. I want Haley worrying about winning games, not spending every waking second publicly defending a move he makes/doesn't make. And when some shit goes down, I want that handled in-house, not by staff members/players sneakily leaking info to the media.

I think secrecy is a great thing because we've seen time and time again that players/staff members can have loose lips and reveal info they shouldn't. And we've seen the media blow small stories way out of proportion.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:48 PM   #15
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It occurs to me that a reputation for honesty and transparency would be very useful when you're trying to hide something. Pioli's fixation on secrecy mostly spurs random speculation on things that don't really need to be secret. A reputation for being open and honest could be very useful when you actually want to keep a secret. Fewer questions. Very Machiavellian of them, the sinister bastards.
I disagree.

I'm willing to bet the Chiefs and the Pats have harsh measures for people who talk about things they're not supposed to. And when the media keeps prying person after person and nobody will talk, the story tends to die. The Bowe importing story, in my opinion, would have blown up in any other market. I think most people have forgotten by now that it ever happened.
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