All he did was grab Elway's touchdown pass to cap off "The Drive" against the Browns in 1987, which cemented his place in Broncos history. He spent seven seasons with the Broncos, where he was an important component of their offense. If it hadn't been for the lack of a running game, those Super Bowls would have ended differently for everyone involved. As it was, Elway went over the hill with the same team he brought into it as a rookie.
Elway played in five NFL Championships during his time with the Broncos, including three Super Bowls (IV, VII, VIII). He also won a National Football League MVP Award in 1995 when he led the Broncos to their first ever Super Bowl win over Pittsburgh. After retiring as a player following the 1997 season, Elway returned to the team he'd helped become champions of in 1999 and has remained part of the organization since then. He currently serves as the senior advisor to the football operations department.
He's one of only four players who have won the Heisman Trophy and the National Football League MVP Award (Jim Plunkett, Steve Young, Peyton Manning).
John Elway was born on January 4th, 1959 in Orange County, California. He was raised by his parents Joanne and John Elway Jr. in the town of Chapel Hill, which is located about an hour north of Los Angeles.
1987 On January 11, 1987, it was simply known as "The Drive." Quarterback John Elway led the Denver Broncos to victories over a number of opponents, but his performance in the AFC championship game against the Cleveland Browns topped the list of his exploits, pushing him to superstar status. The win sent Denver to its first Super Bowl appearance, where it would face New England.
Elway had a great season, finishing with 3,840 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and a rating of 99.3. He also ran for seven more scores while playing in all 16 games.
After missing most of his first season due to injury, Elway came back in 1986 and led the Broncos to the 8-8 mark. With the third-highest scoring offense in the league, and only one player with more than 100 catches, expectations were high for 1987.
Denver opened up the season with five straight wins before losing to San Diego on October 19. From there, the team went on a nine-game winning streak, the longest in franchise history, before falling to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
With the victory over the Steelers, the Broncos became just the second eighth-seed to beat a first-seed (Miami was the other). It was also their first playoff win over Pittsburgh since 1976.
John Elway, the game's MVP, completed 18-of-29 throws for 336 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. In the triumph, Elway also ran for a touchdown. Terrell Davis, a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, carried the ball 25 times for 102 yards. His performance helped the Broncos defeat the Atlanta Falcons 33-32.
The game took place on December 11, 1999, at Mile High Stadium in Denver. It was the last regular season game at the stadium as it was being remodeled into its current form (known then as "Coors Field"). The victory over the defending champion Falcons gave the 3-13 Broncos their first winning record since 1992.
In the week leading up to the game, rumors surfaced that John Elway would retire after this season. However, he came out after the win over the Falcons by saying, "I'm not retiring. I have some things I want to get done here before I go."
Elway went on to lead the Broncos to another victory a few days later, closing out the season with two more wins. He finished his career with more than 100 victories, which is currently second only to Joe Montana in NFL history. Elway announced his retirement on March 5, 2000. In four seasons with the Broncos, Elway led them to a 35-17 record and made three playoff appearances.
After retiring as a player, Elway became the Broncos' general manager and executive vice president of football operations, during which time the team won four division titles, two AFC Championships, and Super Bowl 50, making Elway a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos—two as a player and one as an entrepreneur. He is also a three-time NFL MVP award winner.
Elway first joined the Denver Broncos as a quarterback in 1983 and was eventually drafted number 3 by the team out of Nebraska. During his career with the Broncos, he threw for over 10,000 yards and 89 touchdowns while leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1998. After ending his playing career in 2001, Elway went on to have a successful stint as the team's general manager until 2015 when he stepped down from that role to focus on his business interests.
When asked about why he chose to become a quarterback instead of accepting one of the other positions on the field, Elway said that he wanted to be able to see the whole field when he passed the ball, which is something that only experienced quarterbacks are able to do. This allowed him to see what was happening elsewhere on the field, which helped him make better decisions with the ball.
During his career, Elway was involved in several controversies including allegations of using marijuana and taking steroids. In 1992, he was suspended for the first four games of that season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Elway nearly became one of the league's most feared quarterbacks as the Broncos' signal caller. He led his squad to five victories in six AFC championship games and two Super Bowl titles from 1983 to 1998. However, he was never able to bring home a ring due to injuries.
Elway was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1979 out of Colorado State University. Hired as their head coach following the retirement of Red Miller, he led the team to its first Super Bowl victory after the 1997 season. He returned for another campaign in 1998 before retiring at the end of the season.
Elway will be remembered for his incredible career as a player and a coach. He is the only person who has ever won the NFL MVP award twice. The "Bronco Killer" passed away in 2019 at the age of 69.
John Elway The intangibles: For his ability to run the ball, John Elway was ahead of his time; he is the first quarterback in NFL history to score a running touchdown in four separate Super Bowls. His 300 career touchdowns are still excellent for a top-10 all-time ranking, but he also has 226 interceptions. That's one more than Peyton Manning will throw this season!
The stats: Elway's record is impressive, but it's not perfect. He does not have a higher percentage of successful passes than Manning does, and he loses some statistical points because he played in an era when rushing was more important than today. But there's no doubt that Elway was one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Why he's still the greatest: It's difficult to compare players from different generations, but if we look at what they did on the field, then Elway wins with his statistics and Manning with his awards. While playing, both were incredible leaders who made their teams win games, but only one can be the greatest of all time: Manning is the better passer, but Elway has more total yards from scrimmage and holds most of the passing records so he's our candidate for now.
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