Monday, April 14, 2008

John Elway

John Elway was inducted into the Ring of Fame in 1999. He is the only player that didn't have to wait 5 years after retiring to be named. The greatest player in team history. In my unbiased opinion, the greatest player in NFL history. Just ahead of Jim Brown. I will let the Broncos official bio of the man tell the story.

John Elway capped his brilliant career in 1998 by winning Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowl XXXIII, leading the Denver Broncos to their second straight World Championship. He also posted the highest quarterback rating of his career in his final campaign, with a rating of 93.0. At the close of the 1998 season Elway ranked second among active NFL players for number of appearances with one team (234), trailing only the Oilers' Bruce Matthews (now 264), and retired having played in and started (231) more games in more seasons (16) than any player in Denver Broncos history. Elway, the NFL's all-time winningest starting quarterback (148-82-1; .643), was voted to a franchise-record nine Pro Bowl appearances (1986 season, '87, '89, '91, '93, '94, '96, '97 and '98), tied for the most ever by a quarterback (Marino, Moon), and as a starter six times ('87, '89, '93, '96, '97 and '98). He was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1987 and AFC Player of the Year in 1993, and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week 15 times and AFC Offensive Player of the Month twice. Elway was named the Edge NFL Man of the Year for 1992, and was inducted in to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He ranks second behind Miami's Dan Marino in most major NFL career passing categories, including passing yards (51,475), attempts (7,250), completions (4,123) and total offense (54,882). He also figures third in total touchdowns with 334 (300 passing/33 rushing/1 receiving); third in passing touchdowns with 300 (behind Marino and Fran Tarkenton) and leads all NFL quarterbacks in career rushing attempts (774), while figuring fourth in rushing yards (3,407). Elway is the only player in NFL history to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 200 yards in the same season for seven straight years (1985-91). He generated 4,771 of the 5,806 points (82.2%) scored by the Broncos during his 16-year tenure with the club. Elway ranks No. 1 in NFL history in fourth-quarter, game-winning or game-saving drives with 47 (46-0-1 record), and had 36 career 300-yard passing games in the regular season, third among active quarterbacks at the time of his retirement (Marino, Warren Moon). He also caught three passes in regular season play for 61 yards, including a touchdown of 23 yards from Steve Sewell in 1986. In 1997 Elway broke his franchise record for consecutive passes without an interception, with the streak reaching 189 attempts. For his career, Elway had 19 games in which he completed 70% or more of his passes (min. 20 att.) and fashioned a 17-2 record in those games. He started 2,595 drives as a pro and was replaced just 10 times due to injury (.039%).
POSTSEASON: Elway played in a franchise-record 22 postseason games (including five Super Bowls), with 21 starts, and produced a 14-7 record (9-2 at home, 3-2 on the road and 2-3 at neutral sites). He is the only player ever to start in five Super Bowls, and has the NFL's all-time best record as a starting quarterback in Conference Championship Games, at 5-1. The others with four Super Bowl starts are Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Jim Kelly. Elway owns or shares 18 Broncos' postseason records, including most passing yards, most touchdown passes and total offense (combined rushing and passing yards). He completed 355 of 651 passes (54.5%) for 4,964 yards, 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He also rushed 94 times for 461 yards (4.9 avg.) and six touchdowns and caught one pass for 23 yards in postseason play. Elway ranks second in NFL postseason history in passing yardage (trailing only Montana-5,772), third in completions (Montana-460, Marino-385) and pass attempts (Montana-734, Marino-687) and fourth in passing touchdowns (Montana-45, Marino-32 and Bradshaw-30). In Super Bowl games Elway ranks No. 1 in pass attempts (152), No. 3 in completions (76), No. 2 in passing yards (1,128) and tied for second in rushing TDs (4) with Franco Harris and Thurman Thomas (Emmitt Smith has 5). Six of Elway's NFL-record 47 fourth-quarter, game-winning or game-saving drives came in the postseason.
Super Bowl XXXIII: 56K 300K
Elway on his high school and college career: 56K 300K
Elway on the 2-minute drill: 56K 300K
Elway on comeback wins: 56K 300K
1998: Elway was selected to his ninth Pro Bowl (tying Dan Marino and Warren Moon for most by a QB) -- his sixth as a starter and his third straight selection -- while being inducted in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame with the Class of 1999 after a season in which he played in 13 of the 16 games (12 starts) and showed that he still ranked among the NFL's most dangerous signal-callers, completing 210 of 356 passes (59.0) for 2,806 yards and 22 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He was sacked 18 times (-135) and his longest completion was a 58-yd. toss to Rod Smith in Week 14 vs. Kansas City, 12/6). Elway also rushed 37 times for 94 yards (2.5) with a long of 16 (at Miami, 12/21) and one touchdown (vs. Dal., 9/13/98), and caught a 14-yd. pass from Smith (vs. Oak., 11/22). Elway ranked second in the AFC (5th NFL) in passer rating (93.0), first in average gain per attempt (7.88; 4th NFL), while also figuring third in completion pct. (11th NFL), fourth in TD passes (9th NFL) and sixth (12th NFL) in passing yards. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and Miller Lite NFL Player of the Week for his 400-yard passing performance Dec. 6 vs. Kansas City, marking the 15th time in his career he has earned the AFC honor chosen by the NFL. Elway started all three playoff games and completed 45 of 86 passes (52.3%) for 691 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and a long of 80 yds. (TD), and was awarded the Pete Rozelle Trophy as Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIII, the only player ever to win such honors in his final game. Elway's performance, which lifted Denver to its second straight title, was his best performance in a league-record five Super Bowl starts. Setting a record by being the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl (38 years, 7 mos.), Elway completed 18 of 29 passes (.621) for 336 yards -- the fourth-highest total in Super Bowl history (third at the time) -- and a touchdown with one interception, en route to becoming the first No. 7 in the championship game's history -- and the oldest player -- to be named MVP. Elway cemented the honor by rushing for a 3-yd. touchdown in the 4th qtr. to give Denver a 31-6 lead, and made Elway the oldest player in Super Bowl history to score a touchdown, adding a year onto the record he set with his rushing TD in Super Bowl XXXII. Elway's passing touchdown was perhaps the play of the game, however, as he found Rod Smith deep down the middle of the field in the 2nd qtr. for an 80-yd. scoring play to put Denver on top 17-3. It tied for the second-longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history, and was the longest by a Bronco in a Super Bowl.
1997: Elway enjoyed yet another stellar season, quarterbacking the Broncos to the first World Championship in franchise history with a 31-24 win over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. He was voted to his eighth Pro Bowl (fifth as a starter), and was named to the All-AFC team by Pro Football Weekly and Football News, and was named second-team All-Pro by College and Pro Football Newsweekly. Elway was also the recipient of the NFL Players Association's Mackey Award as the top quarterback in the AFC. For the year he completed 280 of his 502 pass attempts (55.8%) for 3,635 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The 27 passing touchdowns set a new franchise record, and his 28 total touchdowns (one rushing) were the second-most of his career (30 in 1996). Elway also had 50 carries for 218 yards rushing (4.4 avg.) on the season, posted a quarterback rating of 87.5 (4th-best in the AFC, 7th in the NFL), and was 10th in the AFC in completion percentage. His third-down passer rating of 87.7 ranked 3rd in the AFC (5th NFL), as did his 27 touchdown passes (4th NFL). Elway helped Denver lead the NFL in total offense (second straight season) and in scoring offense for the 1997 season. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 10 (Nov. 2) when he moved into second place all-time in passing yardage and eclipsed 50,000 yards in total offense for his career in a win over Seattle. Elway would later be named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November (92-149, 61.7%, 1,231 yards, 8 TDs, 0 INT) as the Broncos went 4-1, marking his second such award ever (October 1996). Elway started all four postseason games and engineered the Denver offense on its four-game run to the World Championship, completing 56 of 96 passes (58.3) for 726 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions. He was sacked six times (-44) and carried the ball nine times for 25 yards (2.8) with a long of 10 yards and one touchdown.
1996: John Elway put together one of the finest seasons of his phenomenal 14-year career in, being voted to his seventh Pro Bowl (third as a starter); named second-team All-Pro by AP, College & Pro Football Newsweekly and Football Digest and first-team All-AFC by UPI, Pro Football Weekly and Football News; voted second in the AP NFL Most Valuable Player balloting; voted AFC Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus; AFC Offensive Player of the Year by the Kansas City 101 Club; Mackey Award winner for highest quarterback rating in the AFC and AFC MVP by the NFL Players Association. He started 15 of the 16 regular season games and completed 287 of 466 pass attempts (61.6) for 3,328 yards and 26 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, and also rushed 50 times for 249 yards (5.0) with a long of 22 and four touchdowns. His 26 touchdowns tied a career high and franchise record set in 1995. Elway led the AFC in quarterback rating (89.2; 4th NFL), was second in completion percentage (61.6; 5th NFL), third in touchdown passes (26; 4th NFL) and fifth in passing yardage (3,328; 7th NFL), completions (287; 8th NFL) and attempts (466; 9th NFL). His start at Seattle (9/8) marked the 192nd game he has played in his career, most by any player in Broncos franchise history, surpassing Tom Jackson who played in 191 games from 1973-86. In Denver's AFC Divisional Playoff loss to Jacksonville (1/4/97), Elway started and completed 25 of 38 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 18. He also rushed five times for 30 yards with a long of 19.
1995: Elway started all 16 games, completing 316 of 542 passes (58.3%) for 3,970 yards, a then-career-best 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He threw for more than 300 yards on five occasions, also a career best. It was the 10th time in his 13-year NFL career that he had topped the 3,000-yard mark, joining him with Dan Marino (11) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish that feat 10 or more times. He also rushed 40 times for 179 yards (4.5) and one touchdown, with a long of 15. He led the AFC (tied for 5th NFL) in passing yards, finished third (8th NFL) in completions and was third (8th NFL) in pass attempts. Meanwhile, his fourth-quarter passer rating of 95.2 ranked third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL.
1994: John Elway earned his sixth AFC Pro Bowl berth, though he missed two of the final three games (at Los Angeles and vs. New Orleans) due to a strained left knee. He finished the season second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL in passer rating with an 85.7, and third in the AFC in passing yards (3,490), attempts (494) and completions (307), with a 2.0 interception percentage. His 62.1 completion percentage was second in the AFC and sixth overall. Elway went over the 3,000-yard passing mark for the ninth time in his career, second only to Dan Marino's 10, and went over the 40,000-yard career total-offense mark. He rushed for 235 yards (second on the team and his ninth 200-yard season), giving him a season total offense figure of 3,725 in the 14 games he played.
1993: Elway was named AFC Most Valuable Player (NFL Players Association), AFC Offensive Player of the Year (UPI, and the Kansas City 101 Club) and AFC Player of the Year (Football News) in 1993. Elway performed at an MVP-pace all year, earning all-AFC (UPI, Football News) and second-team All-NFL (AP, College and Pro Football Newsweekly, and Football Digest), and he was the starting quarterback in the 1994 Pro Bowl (fifth Pro Bowl berth) after a regular season that saw him lead the AFC in all six major quarterback stats categories. Elway's 1993 stats and rankings included a 92.8 rating (first in the AFC, third in the NFL), 551 attempts (first in the entire NFL), 348 completions (first in the entire NFL), a 63.2 completion percentage (first in the AFC and third in the NFL), 25 TD passes (first in the AFC and second in the NFL), 4,030 yards (first in the AFC). Elway's 1.8 interception avoidance percentage was fourth in the AFC, but stands as the best in Denver history for any quarterback with more than 75 single-season attempts. In 1993 he set new personal and Denver records for total yards offensively (4,183), completions (348), passing yards (4,030), TD passes (25), and completion percentage (that 63.2 mark tied the figure set by Norris Weese in 1978). The 1993 season was Elway's first 4,000-yard campaign and his eighth 3,000-yard season. He also rushed for 153 yards. Elway was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice and was named by his teammates as Denver's offensive MVP.
1992: Elway completed 174 of 316 passes for 2,242 yards, with 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He gained 94 yards and scored twice on 34 rushing attempts. He missed games 11 through 14 because of a bruised tendon in his right shoulder, suffered while running for a first down against the Giants (11/15). Elway earned two AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the year.
1991: Elway completed 242 of 351 passes for 3,253 yards, a total ranked sixth in the AFC and ninth in the NFL, as he was voted to his fourth career Pro Bowl berth. He threw 12 touchdown passes and tied a career low with just 12 interceptions. He had 36 pass completions of 20+ yards, nine of 40+, five of 50+, and four of 60+. Elway was third on the team with 258 yards rushing, and his six TDs led the team and set a new career single season high. He was bothered throughout the second half of the season by a shoulder problem that was corrected by arthroscopic surgery in the 1992 offseason. Elway started both of Denver's playoff contests, completing 30 of 54 passes (55.6%) for 378 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He also rushed 10 times for 49 yards (4.9). Elway completed 11 of 21 passes for 121 yards and an interception before leaving the AFC Championship Game in the fourth quarter with a thigh injury.
1990: Elway completed 294 of 502 passes in 1990 (a .586 completion percentage that stood as the highest over the first 10 years of his career) for 3,526 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He gained 258 yards on 50 rushing attempts and scored three touchdowns on the ground.
1989: Elway led Denver to its third AFC Championship in four years and earned his third career Pro Bowl invitation. He completed 223 of 416 passes for 3,051 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, and he rushed for 244 yards on 48 carries, scoring three times. Elway started all three Denver playoff games, including Super Bowl XXIV vs. San Francisco, and completed 42 of 82 passes (51.2%) for 732 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions, while also rushing for 91 yards on 16 carries (5.7) with a long of 32 and one touchdown.
1988: Elway threw for 3,309 yards and rushed for 234 yards despite being bothered for most of the season by several nagging injuries. He was voted by teammates as Denver's most valuable offensive player for the fourth straight year, sharing the award with running back Sammy Winder, following a campaign in which he completed 274 of 496 passes, with 17 touchdowns and 19 interceptions to earn his second straight Pro Bowl invitation.
1987: Elway was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player (AP) and the AFC's starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl after turning in a tremendous season in 1987, a year in which he became the first AFC signal-caller since Terry Bradshaw (1978-79) to lead his team to consecutive conference crowns. Elway was named All-NFL (The Sporting News, NEA, AP-second team) and All-AFC (UPI, Pro Football Weekly, The Football News), in addition to being tabbed as the AFC MVP (NFLPA), AFC Player of the Year (The Football News), AFC Offensive Player of the Year (UPI, Kansas City 101 Club), and Colorado Pro Athlete of the Year (Colorado Sports Hall of Fame), as well as earning his second Pro Bowl invitation. He was voted the Broncos' offensive MVP for a regular season performance in which he completed 224 of 410 passes for 3,198 yards, an average of 267 yards per game, with 19 TD passes. He led all AFC quarterbacks in rushing for the fourth straight season was second on the team with a career-high 304 yards, scoring four times. Elway started all three of Denver's playoff contests, including Super Bowl XXII vs. Washington, and completed 42 of 89 passes (47.2%) for 797 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions, while also rushing 18 times for 76 yards (4.2) with a long of 21 and one touchdown. His 56-yard scoring strike to Ricky Nattiel on Denver's first play from scrimmage provided the earliest touchdown in Super Bowl history (elapsed time of 1:57).
1986: Elway led the Broncos to their first AFC Championship in nine seasons in 1986, while earning his first Pro Bowl berth. He was honored with the Seattle Gold Helmet Award (Professional Football Player of the Year) and received the King of the Hill award from the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, in addition to being named honorable mention All-NFL (AP) and All-AFC (UPl-second team). Along with his 18 TD passes that year, Elway also scored on an 11-yard run and a 23-yard pass reception from Steve Sewell that is the longest TD catch by a full-time starting QB in NFL history. For the year he completed 280 of 504 passes (55.6%) for 3,485 yards and 19 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, while also rushing 52 times for 257 yards (4.9) with a long of 24 and one touchdown. In the postseason he added 805 more yards on 57 of 107 passing efficiency (53.3%), with three touchdowns and four interceptions, while rushing 15 times for 101 yards (6.7) with a long of 34 and two touchdowns. Elway directed one of the greatest drives in NFL postseason history in pacing Denver to a 23-20 overtime win over Cleveland for the AFC title. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 244 yards and a TD, that coming on a five-yard strike to Mark Jackson that capped a 15-play, 98-yard drive that tied the game at the end of regulation. In overtime Elway drove the team 60 yards in nine plays to the winning field goal.
1985: Elway took some spectacular steps forward in 1985, as he re-wrote the Denver record book. Elway set Broncos single season records for attempts (605, which led the NFL and fell just four passes short of the NFL record of 609 held by Dan Fouts), completions (327, second in the NFL), passing yards (3,891, second in the NFL), total rushing and passing plays (656, first in the NFL), and total offense (4,414, also first in the league).
1984: Elway led the Broncos to a 12-2 record in his 14 regular season starts in 1984. He completed 214 of 380 passes for 2,598 yards, with 18 TDs and 15 interceptions. Not only was his passing a factor in his leadership of the offense, but he finished third on the team in rushing with 237 yards.
1983: Elway started 10 games in 1983, including the first five before being replaced by Steve DeBerg, and five more after DeBerg was injured. While Elway did not have impressive stats as a rookie, finishing 17th among AFC passers, he carried a tremendous emotional burden, having come to the NFL as the most publicized college prospect since Joe Namath in 1965. Elway was the first player chosen in the 1983 draft and joined the Broncos by trade with Baltimore on May 2. The Broncos, in return, gave the Colts quarterback Mark Herrmann, the rights to OL Chris Hinton and a first-round pick in the 1984 Draft (G Ron Solt). He was also chosen by the Oakland Invaders in the 1983 USFL territorial draft

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