It’s time to meet our second JMRA Hall of Fame inductee…Long before “Tebow Time” became a fad like New Coke, another Denver quarterback ruled the Mile High City.
JOHN ELWAY, QB, DENVER BRONCOS
Since Denver’s stay in the playoffs is likely to be on par with the length of The Warlord’s appearance in the 1989 Royal Rumble, I wanted to use this opportunity to cash in on the Orange Crush goodwill by paying tribute to one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
The Super Bowl MVP performance was perhaps his finest in a 49er uniform.
Conversely, it was arguably Elway’s lowest point. The Big Easy turned into The Big Queasy for Elway, who looked dreadful during the 45-point beating from Montana’s 49ers.
The record-setting loss capped three nauseating Super Bowl appearances for Elway’s Broncos. After falling 39-20 to the Giants in Super Bowl XXI, Denver was back a year wiser but it mattered little in Super Bowl XXII.
A 35-point barrage second quarter barrage allowed Washington to collect their second Super Bowl victory, 42-10.
Following the debacle in New Orleans two years later, Elway’s crew had been outscored 97-20 over their last two Super Sunday appearances.
He appeared destined to be another quarterback who couldn’t get over the hump in the big one.
As Elway began to age and his athletic clock began to tick, it was evident that he needed help if wanted to get back to a Super Bowl, let alone win one.
After the dying days of the Dan Reeves era and a brief two-year stint by Wade Phillips as head coach, Mike Shanahan arrived to lead Denver.
Most importantly though, so did Terrell Davis.
The former Georgia Bulldog running back gave Elway’s passing attack balance and made the Broncos one of the AFC’s top teams.
Over a three-season span from 1996 to 1998, Denver netted 39 regular season wins, two AFC West crowns, and two Super Bowls.
It took over 10 years but no longer was Elway a one-man band. He had a lead singer (Davis), some good drummers (receivers Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith), and a lot of good bass players (Denver’s efficient offensive line). Plus, he had a great support staff led by his roadies (Denver’s vastly underrated defense).
With a team like that, Elway could sit back and play bongos, tambourine, or the keyboard from time to time. Ultimately though, nobody had a louder voice in the band than Elway.
When the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII, Elway was carried off the field by his teammates despite not having a statistical day that would make Montana, Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw or any other Super Bowl-winning quarterback envious.
It was a clear signal that Elway was boss in Denver.
The final two years of his career certified him as one of the greatest players in NFL history. Winning two Super Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP tends to do that for a player.
Welcome aboard John.