John Elway

by Bernard Frei on March 06, 2019

John Albert Elway’s dedication and devotion to the Denver Broncos as outstanding quarterback and subsequently executive defines this all-time great.

Born on June 28th 1960 he was one of three children, his twin-sister, Jana, and he being very close and being encouraged by their college-football-coach father, Jack, to play sport together. Even as a small child Elway was extremely competitive.

Elway learned about football as a child through watching the games that his father coached at Montana State, Washington State, and California State University at Northridge.

As well as a footballer, Elway was a talented baseball player, being selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 1979 Major League Baseball draft and by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1981 Major League Baseball draft and playing for the Yankees' short season affiliate Oneonta Yankees in the New York–Penn League in the summer of 1982.

In his four seasons at Stanford (between 1979 and 1982), Elway completed 774 passes for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns and in 1982 he achieved the highest number of touchdown passes - 24 - in the country.

Elway was the first overall pick for the Baltimore Colts out of Stamford, before being traded to the Denver Broncos.

Elway quickly distinguished himself in the Broncos' team and in 1985 broke its single-season record for attempts (605), completions (327), passing yards (3,891), and more.

Elway’s 98-yard touchdown drive against the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Championship in 1987 - in 5 minutes and 2 seconds, Elway led his team 98 yards to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation - shaped his early career. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime. In the 1987 season, Elway was selected to start in the American Football Conference's (AFC) Pro Bowl team and won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. The Broncos went on to defeat the Browns in the AFC title game, appearing in their second consecutive Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins.

Elway led the Broncos to the Super Bowl again after the 1989 season, defeating the Browns in the AFC championship game and playing the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV.

In 1993, Elway was named AFC MVP by the NFL Players Association, AFC Offensive Player of the Year by United Press International and AFC Player of the Year by Football News, was named to the all-AFC team by UPI and Football News, and second team all-NFL by the Associated Press, College and Pro Football Weekly, and Football Digest.

In 1995, he scored 26 touchdowns, made 14 interceptions, and threw for more than 300 yards five separate times, all career bests. His 26 touchdowns were the highest-ever  for the Broncos. In 1996 his record was 26 touchdowns, again, and 14 interceptions. In the same year he set Broncos records for most games played (192) and most consecutive games scoring touchdown passes (15).

In 1997 he received the NFL Players Association Mackey Award as the best quarterback in the AFC, in the year that the Broncos won their first Super Bowl, beating the Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII.

In the 1998 season, Elway was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII in Denver's 34–19 win over the Atlanta Falcons, throwing for 336 yards with one interception and a rushing touchdown. Elway decided to bring an end to his playing career, aged thirty eight. His career record includes six AFC Championships and five Super Bowls, of which the Broncos won two, and a third, Super Bowl 50, as an executive.

His four total rushing touchdowns in Super Bowl games are the most ever by a quarterback. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Elway was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 in his first year of eligibility.

Elway ended his career with a record 148 victories, the most wins by a starting quarterback, 774 rushing attempts, currently third in league history. Elway's 3,407 rushing yards ranks sixth all-time among NFL quarter backs.

He threw for 1,128 yards in his five Super Bowls. His 76 Super Bowl pass completions rank fifth, and his 152 attempts were a Super Bowl record. He is one of only two players ever to score a rushing touchdown in four different Super Bowls.

He is the only player to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 200 yards in seven straight seasons (1985–91).

He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times during his 16 seasons with the Broncos, a franchise record.

He is one of six quarterbacks to pass for at least 3,000 yards in 12 seasons.
After his playing career, Elway was involved with the Arena Football team Colorado Crush between 2002 and 2008 and in January 2011, he was appointed general manager and executive vice president of football operations of the Denver Broncos.

Between 2012 and 2015, the Broncos won four division titles, two AFC Championships, and reached Super Bowl XLVIII.

Elway won a third Super Bowl as part of the Broncos franchise in the Broncos’ defeat of the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

In sixteen years with the Broncos, Elway played in four Super Bowls, the final two of which, Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII, his team won. He became the second player in NFL history to throw for over 50,000 yards, and topped the NFL in victories for a starting quarterback and in rushing attempts by a quarterback.

Capture a piece of Elway's legacy with this signed NFL football from VintageSports.com

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