In 1998, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen offered John Elway the chance to own 20% of the franchise. The franchise owed the quarterback $21 million in deferred salary. To compensate, Bowlen offered his star quarterback 10% of the team for the $21 million that they owed him, and another 10% for $15 million, which the quarterback would pay out of his own pocket.
To sweeten the offer, Bowlen also gave his franchise quarterback insurance. If he decided to sell his stake after five years, Bowlen would buy it back and pay the quarterback an extra $5 million.
John Elway turned down the opportunity to buy 20% of the Broncos
By 1998, Elway, a shrewd investor, was well off. He had earned over $20 million in salary, another $10 million in endorsement deals and in 1997, he sold his car dealership, John Elway Automobiles, for $82.5 million. This suggests that the quarterback could have easily been able to afford $15 million for 10% of the Broncos.
Elway, who was entering his final season in the NFL, had 10 months to decide whether he wanted to take the deal. That season, the quarterback went on to lead the franchise to their second Super Bowl title and finally retired soon after.
It was then time for Elway to decide whether he wanted to pay $15 million and become one of the owners of the Broncos. However, the quarterback ultimately passed on the deal. Had Elway taken up the offer and sold his share to the Walton/Penner group in 2022, he would have received close to $900 million.
To make matters worse, instead of buying Broncos equity, John Elway and one of his business partners invested $15 million in Mueller Capital Management LLC, a Colorado-based hedge fund. The organization turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, and the hedge fund's manager, Sean Michael Mueller, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2010.
John Elway's Denver Broncos career
John Elway's name is synonymous with the Denver Broncos. The team drafted Elway with the first overall pick in 1983 and the quarterback revolutionized the struggling franchise. He spent his entire 16-season career with the team, leading them to two Super Bowl titles.
Elway returned to the Broncos in 2011 and became the team's general manager and executive vice-president of football operations. He landed quarterback Peyton Manning and built a roster that went on to win another Super Bowl.
He was named the team's president of football operations in 2021 and managed another coup, landing former Seattle Seahawks superstar Russell Wilson.
The Broncos president was rumored to be among those who wanted to buy the franchise from the Bowlen family. The team was eventually purchased for $4.5 billion by the Walton/Penner group, headed by Rob Walton, heir to the Walmart fortune.
Although Elway missed out on being an owner of the Broncos, the Hall of Famer is still living off a great fortune today.
Also Checkout:-John Elway Super Bowl Wins
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