Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has been a visible part of the NFL and Denver Broncos since he was drafted in 1983. Elway played 16 seasons before retiring after his last Super Bowl season in 1998.
Elway worked in the Bronco’s front office for more than a decade before finally beginning to step away last season. He did one year as a consultant before deciding to hang up his cleats and business loafers in exchange for more family time.
In an interview with Woody Paige of the Denver Gazette, Elway had a few comments about his plans and decision-making that led him to step away. When asked if he would consider a job with another team, he said this: “I don’t have that desire to climb another mountain again. I’ve been to the summit a bunch of times in 62 years,”
Elway has indeed had a lot of success. Despite having lost three Super Bowls against one win and seeing his play and the team decline as he aged, he managed to overcome injury in 1997 and win the Super Bowl largely on the back of fellow Hall of Famer Terrell Davis.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 5, 2023
Elway came back for one final season in 1998 and took the team back to the Super Bowl, winning it and being named the game’s most valuable player. That was his last game as a player besides the Pro Bowl.
For the duration of his tenure in the team’s front office, Elway tried and failed time and again to draft and develop a franchise quarterback. While the team stayed generally competitive, the lack of a high-end signal caller held them back until the Hall of Famer convinced a freshly released Peyton Manning to finish his career in Denver. The gamble worked. In four seasons with the Broncos, Manning took the team to two Super Bowls, winning his last and only one as a Bronco in 2016.
Elway is largely credited for that last Super Bowl, as he gutted the coaching staff and beefed up the defense in search of that last, elusive big game win. He gambled and won, and his legacy was cemented, despite his continued failed efforts to replace Manning.
So, what does a lifelong football guy plan to do with all of his spare time? Elway continued: “I’ll always be a Bronco and a fan, and I told [CEO] Greg Penner I’m here if they call on me for anything.”
“I’ve got the restaurants and car dealerships and other (enterprises) to keep me busy enough,” Elway said.
“I want to play golf. The No. 1 trip on my bucket list is to Normandy. I’ve always wanted to go there. (His wife) Paige and I want to take a boat trip to the Greek Isles, and I’ll spend a lot of my time with my grandkids.”
Not a bad plan, and one that is well deserved. Elway poured his time, body, and life into the Denver Broncos, never stepping away for television, or jumping ship to another franchise. He is synonymous with Denver and leaves the franchise with three Super Bowl wins as a player and executive. Whatever Elways has planned for the rest of his life, he will probably be a success.
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