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Denver Broncos’ Sale Serves Reminder Of How NFL Legend John Elway Missed Out On Being a Billionaire

Published 06/13/2022, 6:00 AM EDT

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When the Denver Broncos opened up for sale, fans held their breath. The franchise sold for a record-breaking amount, raking in billions. The Walton-Penner group outperforms the competition to secure the franchise. Today, however, the spotlight is on John Elway and also how he overlooked the chance to be a billionaire.

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In modern history, having ownership of an NFL franchise is the best investment to make. Take a glance at oil mogul Jerry Jones, who bought the Dallas Cowboys and turned it into a billionaire empire. While Walmart’s heir, Rob Walton, and his group shell out a chunk of their fortune, John Ely will sulk over an overlooked mega opportunity.


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As one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, John Elway was renowned for his intelligent decisions. One decision made by Elway must forebode the Hall of Famer. Pat Bowlen approached the former Broncos QB with a proposal during his ultimate NFL season in 1998. For $15 million, John could purchase a ten percent stake in the team. If he voluntarily gave up the $21 million discretionary salary, he could get another 10%.

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Pat Bowlen gave John Elway ten months to consider the option. Meanwhile, with the Denver Broncos, Elway won another Super Bowl in 1999. He stepped down a few months later.


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John Elway could have purchased 20% of the Broncos for $36 million. At that point, Bowlen was offering 20 percent ownership of the Broncos for $180 million. It was a risk-free chance to get a stake in an NFL franchise. Elway declined the offer in 2004, stating that he “didn’t see a place for himself as an executive of the team.” And today, the choice looks to be a dreadful one.

Walmart is now tied with another NFL team aside from Denver Broncos

The Broncos become the second NFL franchise of the Walmart family after the Rob Walton-Penner family becomes the wealthy elite and emerges into a purchase contract. The LA Rams are the other team. Rob is the son of Sam Walton, the company’s founder. Sam is a name that most people are aware of. Most people are unaware that Sam’s younger brother, Bud Walton, was also a co-founder of the retail behemoth.


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Ann Walton, one of Bud’s daughters, married Stan Kroenke in 1974. Stan builds his own commercial real estate empire with the help of Ann’s financial backing. Stan bought a third of the Los Angeles Rams in 1995 and concocted the team’s relocation to St. Louis. In 2010, he became the sole owner. He brought the Rams to Los Angeles in 2017.


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Pavitra Shome

1720 articles

Pavitra Shome is an NFL author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his M.A.

Edited By: Gurjyot Singh Dadial