For the past three seasons, John Elway has watched from a suite as his Denver Broncos competed in playoff contests.
The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback said Thursday he liked the playoffs much more as a player.
"It's very different," the Broncos executive said, per The Denver Post. "It takes some getting used to. I enjoy watching the regular-season games, but I was absolutely miserable last week watching this game. It took me four hours to get the pit out of my stomach when it was over. It's not nearly as much fun upstairs as it is down on the field, especially these championship games and the playoffs.
"But I'm also proud of being a part of it. Being able to help put the team together, put the coaches together and the personnel side, for everything to come together. There is more of a quiet pride than it is being a quarterback when everybody is patting you on the back."
Elway was hired by owner Pat Bowlen to take control after the team fired Josh McDaniels three years ago. The executive said he understood the challenges of remaking the roster. He did not realize the off-field crises he'd have to deal with.
"But when you have problems, being a good leader is taking care of those and making sure everyone feels comfortable that when the house is on fire that we go ahead and take care of our business and realize there's a solution to this and we'll get through this," Elway said. "I've tried to be that rock on the front side, saying we'll get it covered, we'll get it handled."
Elway has guided his team from a 4-12 record the season before he took over to three consecutive division titles and now the AFC Championship Game. While it might not have been as much fun as playing, Elway once again has the Broncos within reach of the Lombardi Trophy.