John Elway Biography
Before John Elway arrived in Denver, the city had never won a major professional sports championship. Learn more about this prolific player.
Before John Elway played for the Denver Broncos, the city had never won a major professional sports championship. Although the Broncos did start to have some winning and playoff teams, there was still no championship. In the Bronocos only pre-Elway Super Bowl, the team lost 27-10 to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII in 1978.
There was a renewed hope when Elway was ready to play pro football after graduating from Stanford. The problem was that he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1983. The team was at that time a loser, and Elway, a two-sport star, said he would rather play baseball for the New York Yankees than football for the Colts. The Broncos jumped at the chance to trade for him. The rest is history.
Elway became the only NFL quarterback ever to start in five Super Bowls. The Broncos lost Super Bowl XXI in 1987 to the New York Giants, 39-20; Super Bowl XXII in 1988, 42-10 to the Washington Redskins; and Super Bowl XXIV in 1990 to the San Francisco 49ers, 55-10.
Elway capped a successful career, however, when the Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, and repeated as champs by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 31-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. Elway was named MVP of the game against the Falcons and became the only pro football player to be named MVP of a Super Bowl in his last game.
"We did it the hard way," Elway said of winning the first Super Bowl. The "hard way" was meant that Denver was a wild card team in the playoffs that year and had to win three games instead of two to even play in the Super Bowl. Two of the games, including the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, were on the road.
Even though the Broncos lost three Super Bowls under Elway and Elway didn't play his best during those games, a lot of football experts have not blamed Elway. They have noted that the team didn't have the strong defense that it did in the two Super Bowl wins. The Broncos also didn't have the running of Terrell Davis, who was MVP of Super Bowl XXXII by rushing for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Broncos lost the three previous Super Bowls before the game against the Packers by a combined 136-40.
Experts have also noted that although the Broncos did have some good players and teams before the two Super Bowl wins, Elway almost carried those teams. This is because no team with the amount of talent the Broncos had would have even been in the Super Bowl without a John Elway.
"They never would really have considered him (Elway) a great quarterback before he won the big game," said former Bronco tight end Shannon Sharpe, who played in both Super Bowls said.
Although running back Davis was the MVP of the first win, key passes and runs by Elway help set up touchdowns by Davis. Elway was 12-22 passing with one interception for 123 yards. In the other Super Bowl win, Elway was 18-29 for 336 yards and one interception.
Elway retired after his second Super Bowl win. Not many players in any sport go out in a manner like he did.