Grading the Week: John Elway steps away at perfect time for Broncos Country — just as fans regained the right to complain – The Denver Post

Major professional sports titles are hard to come by.

If you’re lucky, you might get to see one of your teams win one or two in your lifetime.

The staff inside the Grading the Week offices still haven’t witnessed their beloved Phoenix Suns hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and we’re fast approaching Decade No. 5 on this cursed rotating rock.

Which brings us to Monday’s big news out of Broncos Country…

John Elway — A-

As bad as the past five years of Broncos football has been — and we concede, it hasn’t been pretty — let’s remember one thing about John Elway:

This is a man who had a hand in not one, not two, but three Lombardi trophies won by the Broncos during the past 25 years — including, of course, the stunning Super Bowl 50 upset of the Carolina Panthers. Elway drafted that game’s MVP (Von Miller), lured the team’s starting quarterback (Peyton Manning) to the Front Range and even hired the coach (Gary Kubiak) who made it all sing (well, sort of).

That, dear readers, buys Elway an awful lot of goodwill as an executive in these parts, not to mention his Hall of Fame playing career.

If you subscribe to the idea a championship allows a franchise a certain grace period with its fans — the Ringer’s Bill Simmons once set it at five years — then the missteps since that night in February 2016 not only must be forgiven, they must be ignored.

That also makes Elway’s decision to relinquish his role as Broncos general manager this week near perfect timing. Five years have passed since a third title was added to the Dove Valley trophy case, and that’s just long enough for fans to regain the right to complain about the bedraggled state of the Broncos.

You had your five years, Mr. Elway. Now it’s time to let someone else put the roster together.

Here’s a tip of the cap on your way out the door. Or should we say… up to the President’s suite?

On second thought, this might get weird.

RMS basketball — Inc.

If ever there was a year for Colorado and Colorado State to meet on the basketball floor, this would be it.

The early season non-conference showdown was canceled by COVID during the first week of December. Since then, both men’s basketball teams have revealed themselves to be NCAA Tournament contenders.

The Rams (7-2) authored a record-breaking comeback at Mountain West favorite San Diego State a week ago, then put together another double-digit rally to beat UNLV on Thursday night. The Buffs (8-3) dropped 17th-ranked Oregon earlier that same day, keeping the Ducks O-for-Boulder since… forever.

Who doesn’t want to see McKinley Wright IV trade killer crossovers with Isaiah Stevens? Or Evan Battey swap elbows with David Roddy in the paint?

We already dropped the ball on the fall version of the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Can’t we at least salvage the winter edition?

Nikola Jokic, assist master — A+

Don’t look now, but the Nuggets’ All-NBA center was third in the league in assists per game entering Friday.

Could we be witnessing the first assist title won by an NBA center since Wilt Chamberlain did it back in 1967-68? If the team’s record (3-5) is any indication, maybe we shouldn’t.

Let it fly, Nikola. Any shot you take is a good one.

Wish we could say the same about Gary Harris.

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