View Full Version : broncos superbowls tainted?

09-21-2004, 12:49 PM


There's speculation running rampant in league circles that Marvin Demoff, who represented Broncos quarterback John Elway during his playing career, is the agent who donated $100,000 to charity as part of the resolution of the NFL's investigation into allegations that the Broncos circumvented the salary cap from 1996 to 1998 by deferring compensation for several players and by promising not to waive at least one player prior to a certain date, essentially converting a roster bonus into a guaranteed payment that should have been prorated over the remaining life of his contract.

On Thursday, the NFL announced that it fined the Broncos $950,000 and stripped the team of a third-round pick in the 2005 draft for the salary cap violations.

Elway is the most logical and obvious target of suspicion, since he'd been with the team for more than a decade and was aching to get his fingers on a certain silver football with a stump.

And it's the second time the Broncos have been nailed for their actions during the years that resulted in two opportunities for Elway to fondle the Lombardi. In 2001, the team paid another near-seven-figure fine and coughed up a third-round pick over payments made to Elway and running back Terrell Davis.

Need further proof that Broncos were looking for creative ways to keep Elway on the field and happy with his coin during the latter years of his career? Look no farther than the still-lingering legal battle between Pat Bowlen and former team owner Edgar Kaiser. That brouhaha got started because Bowlen offered Elway -- while he was still on the payroll -- a 10 percent interest in the team for $15 million and another 10 percent share "designed in part to compensate Elway for playing another season and forgoing his planned retirement."

Although Elway didn't take Bowlen up on his offer, the fact that the offer even was made tells us that the Broncos were willing to do whatever they could to keep Elway and a quality supporting cast on the field -- even if it meant giving the players side compensation (in the form of a chunk of the pink slip) or engaging in the activities for which the team already has been slapped, twice.

In fact, we're surprised that the NFL hasn't slapped the Broncos already for offering Elway such thinly-disguised value, which surely would not have been part of Elway's cap number.

Of course the Broncos now insist that they did these things to help with cash flow in connection with the construction of a new stadium, and that they gained no competitive advantage. The easiest way to refute this claim would be to examine the amount of cap room they had left in 1996 through 1998. If they were scraping the ceiling even with the improper payments and promises, then their explanation that they derived no competitive benefit simply isn't credible.

Back to Demoff, we find it somewhat odd that his penalty (if he indeed is the agent who paid the 100 large to charity) wasn't a suspension or a decertification. Though we don't know enough about the specific agent rules to say that a payment to charity is beyond the realm of potential sanctions, we can't recall many/any agents being required to take that route when they run afoul of the rules.

The bottom line is that the Broncos cheated, and that at least one agent and multiple players were in on the ruse. Absent proof that the cap charges in question could have been absorbed without releasing and/or letting other players leave via free agency, our conclusion is that the Broncos' twin silver trophies are tarnished, permanently.