The Denver Broncos had some pretty lean years following John Elway’s retirement at the end of the 1998 season. Elway retired a back-to-back World Champion, but just like we’ve seen in the wake of Peyton Manning’s retirement, it took the Broncos some time to recover.It wasn’t all bad post-Elway, as the Broncos did make the playoffs in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005 under then-Head Coach Mike Shanahan. Denver was one home victory away from a Super Bowl berth in 2005, but alas, Jake Plummer came undone in the AFC Championship Game vs. Pittsburgh.

Shanahan was jettisoned at the end of 2008 and Josh McDaniels hired to take the reins — not just as head coach but also as the man making the final personnel decisions. Two brutal seasons later, Owner Pat Bowlen made arguably the best decision of his NFL career and hired John Elway to serve as GM and V.P. of Football Operations.

Elway had to learn on the job — with the front office help of Brian Xanders — but the Broncos quickly got back into the winning groove with Tim Tebow quarterbacking the team. Five Division crowns, two AFC Championships and one World Championship later, Elway’s stamp on the team — even from on high — has been tremendous.

He defied the odds and the naysayers who didn’t think he belonged in an NFL front office. And Broncos Country has reaped the rewards.

Since 2011, Elway has led the Broncos to the third-best winning percentage in the league. That’s saying something, considering Denver’s 14-18 record over the last two years. But that’s what happens when you lose a Hall-of-Fame QB.

With training camp just a couple weeks away, what better time than now to look back on Elway’s seven seasons as Denver’s front-office czar and list the 10 moves that catapulted him into the NFL stratosphere? From draft picks, to free agent signings, to coaching hires, let’s take a look at the 10 hardest decisions that’s made Elway’s front-office career such a resounding success.