JOHN ELWAY

JOHN ELWAY

Class of 2004
Quarterback >>> 6-3, 215
(Stanford)
1983-1998 Denver Broncos

John Albert Elway. . .First overall pick of 1983 draft by Colts, traded to Broncos. . .Led Denver to record 47 fourth quarter comebacks. . .NFL's Most Valuable Player, 1987. . .Named All-Pro, 1987, second-team All-NFL three times. . .All-AFC four times. . .Elected to nine Pro Bowls. . .Career stats: 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns. . .Started five Super Bowls. . .MVP, Super Bowl XXXIII. . .Born June 28, 1960, in Port Angeles, Washington.

“I don’t know if I like being the sentimental favorite,” John Elway told reporters prior to Super Bowl XXXII. “There are a lot of people who might not get another chance to win a Super Bowl, not just me.” By the end of what many observers have called the greatest Super Bowl game ever played, thousands of fans in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium were chanting “Elway, Elway, Elway.”

In almost storybook-like fashion, the veteran quarterback directed his team to a 31-24 victory over the heavily favored Green Bay Packers. It was Denver’s first Super Bowl victory. Elway would go on to lead his team to a second Super Bowl win a year later, capturing game Most Valuable Player honors in the process.

A first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1983, Elway was immediately traded to the Broncos for two veteran players and a 1984 first-round pick. As the Broncos signal caller, Elway almost at once became one of the most feared quarterbacks in the league. From 1983 through 1998, he led his team to five victories in six AFC championship games and two Super Bowl wins. Elway’s record 47 fourth quarter game-winning or game-tying drives are legendary. In the 1986 AFC title game, Elway engineered a 98-yard come-from-behind touchdown drive to tie the Cleveland Browns and send the game into overtime. The Broncos went on to win 23-20. Today, the Elway-led fourth-quarter rally is simply referred to as “The Drive.”

The versatile Elway is the only player in National Football League history to pass for more than 3,000 yards and rush for more than 200 yards in the same season seven consecutive times. He was only the second quarterback in NFL history to record more than 40,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing during his career. At the time of his retirement, he ranked second all-time in three of the game’s most significant passing categories, passing yards (51,475), attempts (7,250), and completions (4,123).

Indicative of his versatility, Elway was responsible for 334 touchdowns (300 passing; 33 rushing and one receiving) generating 4,771 of the 5,806 points (82.2%) scored by the Broncos during his 16-year tenure with the club. Selected to play in nine Pro Bowl games, Elway was a first- or second-team All-Pro choice three times and a first- or second-team All-AFC choice five times. In addition to his all-league honors, he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1987, AFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1993, and Super Bowl XXXIII Most Valuable Player. 

Year Team
G
Att
Comp
Yards
TDs
Int
Rating
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
F
1983 Denver
11
259
123
1663
7
14
54.9
28
146
5.2
1
6
1984 Denver
15
380
214
2598
18
15
76.8
56
237
4.2
1
14
1985 Denver
16
605
327
3891
22
23
70.2
51
253
5
0
7
1986 Denver
16
504
280
3485
19
13
79
52
257
4.9
1
8
1987 Denver
12
410
224
3198
19
12
83.4
66
304
4.6
4
2
1988 Denver
15
496
274
3309
17
19
71.4
54
234
4.3
1
7
1989 Denver
15
416
223
3051
18
18
73.7
48
244
5.1
3
9
1990 Denver
16
502
294
3526
15
14
78.5
50
258
5.2
3
8
1991 Denver
16
451
242
3253
13
12
75.4
55
255
4.6
6
12
1992 Denver
12
316
174
2242
10
17
65.7
34
94
2.8
2
12
1993 Denver
16
551
348
4030
25
10
92.8
44
153
3.5
0
8
1994 Denver
14
494
307
3490
16
10
85.7
58
235
4.1
4
11
1995 Denver
16
542
316
3970
26
14
86.4
41
176
4.3
1
9
1996 Denver
15
466
287
3328
26
14
89.2
50
249
5
4
6
1997 Denver
16
502
280
3635
27
11
87.5
50
218
4.4
1
11
1998 Denver
13
356
210
2806
22
10
93
37
94
2.5
1
7
Career Total
234
7250
4123
51,475
300
226
79.9
774
3407
4.4
33
137
 
Additional Career Statistics: Receiving: 3-61, 1 TD; Punting: 7-253, 36.1 avg.; 2-Point Conversions: 1
Championship Games

  • 1986 AFC - Denver Broncos 23
    , Cleveland Browns 20 (OT)
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 244 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had four rushes for 56 yards, and one punt for 19 yards.

    1987 AFC - Denver Broncos 38, Cleveland Browns 33
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 14 of 26 passes for 281 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also had 11 rushes for 36 yards, and one punt for 18 yards.
     
  • 1989 AFC - Denver Broncos 37, Cleveland Browns 21
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 385 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five rushes for 39 yards.
     
  • 1991 AFC - Buffalo Bills 10, Denver Broncos 7
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 121 yards and one interception. He also had four rushes for 10 yards. 
     
  • 1997 AFC - Denver Broncos 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 21
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 18 of 31 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also had two rushes for 9 yards.
     
  • 1998 AFC - Denver Broncos 23, New York Jets 10
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 13 of 34 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He also had three rushes for 13 yards.


Super Bowls

 

Super Bowl XXI- New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20
Elway started at quarterback. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 304 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was also the team's leading rusher with six attempts for 27 yards and one touchdown.

  • Super Bowl XXII - Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 14 of 38 passes for 257 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He also had three rushes for 32 yards.
     
  • Super Bowl XXIV - San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 10 of 26 passes for 108 yards and two interceptions. He also had four rushes for eight yards, and one touchdown.

    Super Bowl XXXII - Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 123 yards and one interception. He also had five rushes for 17 yards and one touchdown.

    Super Bowl XXXIII - Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19
    Elway started at quarterback. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had three rushes for two yards and one touchdown. Elway was named Most Valuable Player of the Game.
     

All-Pro: 1987 (NEA, SN)

All-Pro Second Team: 1987 (AP), 1993 (AP), 1996 (AP)

All-AFC: 1987 (UPI, PW), 1993 (UPI, PW), 1996 (UPI, PW), 1997 (PW)

All-AFC Second Team: 1986 (UPI)

(9) - 1987, 1988, 1990*, 1992*, 1994, 1995, 1997*, 1998*, 1999

* Did not play

At time of his retirement following 1998 season

[1st] Most Times Sacked, Career - 516
[2nd] Most Passes Attempted, Career - 7,250
[2nd] Most Passes Completed, Career - 4,123
[2nd] Most Passing Yards, Career - 51,475
[2nd] Most Seasons 3,000 Yards or More Passing - 12
[3rd] Most Touchdown Passes, Career - 300
[3rd] Most Fumbles, Career - 137

Super Bowl Records

[1st] Most Passes Attempted, Career - 152
[1st] Most Passes Intercepted, Career - 8
[Tied for 1st] Most Fumbles Recovered, Career - 2
[2nd] Most Passing Yards, Career - 1,128
[Tied for 2nd] Most Games - 5
[Tied for 2nd] Longest Pass Completion - 80 (to Rod Smith, Super Bowl XXXIII)
[Tied for 2nd] Most Fumbles, Game - 2 (Super Bowl XXIV)
[3rd] Most Passes Completed, Career - 76
[3rd] Most Passing Yards, Game - 336 (Super Bowl XXXIII)
[Tied for 3rd] Most Points, Career - 24
[Tied for 3rd] Most Fumbles, Career - 3

Post-Season Records

• [2nd] Most Passes Attempted, Career - 651
• [2nd] Most Passing Yards, Career - 4,964
• [2nd] Most Fumbles, Career - 14
• [2nd] Most Own Fumble Recoveries, Career - 7
• [3rd] Most Passes Completed, Career - 355
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Gamer 300 or More Yards Passing - 4
• [3rd] Most Touchdown Passes, Career - 27
• [3rd] Most Consecutive Games with Touchdown Pass - 9 (1984-1989)

Team Records

Broncos' records held by Elway at the time of his retirement following the 1998 season

[1st] Most Seasons - 16
[1st] Most Games Played, Career - 234
[1st] Most Games Started, Career - 231
[1st] Most Total Plays, Career - 8,662
[1st] Most Total Plays, Season - 656 (1985)
[1st] Most Total Plays, Game - 64 (at Green Bay, Oct. 10, 1993)
[1st] Most Yards Total Offense, Career - 54,882
[1st] Most Yards Total Offense, Season - 4,183 (1993)
[1st] Most Yards Passing, Career - 51,475
[1st] Most Yards Passing, Season - 4,030 (1993)
[1st] Most Yards Passing as a Rookie, Game - 345 (vs. Baltimore Colts, Dec. 11, 1983)
[1st] Most Passes Attempted, Career - 7,250
[1st] Most Passes Attempted, Season - 605 (1985)
[1st] Most Passes Attempted, Game - 59 (at Green Bay, Oct. 10, 1993)
[1st] Most Passes Attempted as a Rookie, Season - 259 (1983)
[1st] Most Passes Attempted as a Rookie, Game - 44 (vs. Baltimore Colts, Dec. 11, 1983)
[1st] Most Passes Completed, Career - 4,123
[1st] Most Passes Completed, Season - 348 (1993)
[1st] Most Passes Completed, Game - 36 (vs. San Diego, Sept. 4, 1994)
[1st] Most Passes Complete as a Rookie, Season - 123 (1983)
[1st] Most Passes Completed as a Rookie, Game - 23 (vs. Baltimore Colts, Dec. 11, 1983)
[1st] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Season - .632 (1983)
[1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Career - 300
[1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Season - 27 (1997)
[1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Game - 5 (vs. Minnesota, Nov. 18, 1984)
[1st] Most Interceptions, Career - 226
[1st] Highest Passer Rating, Career - 79.9
[1st] Highest Passer Rating, Season - 93.0 (1998)
[1st] Most Consecutive Games with Passing Touchdown - 15 (1995-1996)
[1st] Longest Non-Scoring Pass Completed - 86 (to Vance Johnson, vs. L.A. Raiders, Sept. 26, 1988)
[Tied for 1st] Most Touchdown Passes as a Rookie, Game - 4 (vs. Baltimore Colts, Dec. 11, 1983)
[Tied for 1st] Most Interceptions as a Rookie, Season - 14 (1983)
[2nd] Most Total Plays, Season - 605 (1995)
[2nd] Most Yards Total Offense, Season - 4,146 (1995)
[2nd] Most Yards Passing, Season - 3,970 (1995)
[2nd] Most Yards Passing as Rookie, Season - 1,663 (1983)
[2nd] Most Passes Attempted, Season - 551 (1993)
[2nd] Most Passes Completed, Season - 327 (1985)
[2nd] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Game - .917 (at L.A. Raiders, Nov. 2, 1986)
[2nd] Most Touchdown Passes, Season - 26 (1995, 1996)
[2nd] Best Interception Avoidance, Season - .018 (1993)
[2nd] Best Average Gain Per Completion, Game - 33.00 (at Cleveland, Oct. 1, 1989)
[2nd] Highest Passer Rating, Season - 92.8 (1993)
[2nd] Most Consecutive Games with Passing Touchdown - 13 (1985-1986)
[Tied for 2nd] Most Interceptions as a Rookie, Game - 4 (at Kansas City, Dec. 18, 1983)
[3rd] Most Total Plays, Season - 595 (1993)
[3rd] Most Yards Total Offense - 4,144 (1985)
[3rd] Most Yards Total Offense, Game - 432 (at Seattle, Dec. 20, 1985)
[3rd] Most Yards Passing, Season - 3,891 (1985)
[3rd] Most Yards Passing, Game - 432 (at Seattle, Dec. 20, 1985)
[3rd] Most Passes Attempted, Season - 542 (1995)
[3rd] Most Passes Completed, Season - 316 (1995)
[3rd] Most Passes Completed, Game - 33 (at Green Bay, Oct. 10, 1993)
[3rd] Most Touchdown Passes, Season - 25 (1993)
[3rd] Most Touchdown Passes as a Rookie, Season - 7 (1983)
[3rd] Most Interceptions, Season - 23 (1985)
[3rd] Best Interception Avoidance, Career - .031
[3rd] Best Interception Avoidance, Season - .020 (1994)
•  [3rd] Highest Passer Rating as a Rookie, Season - 54.9 (1983)
[3rd] Most Consecutive Games with Passing Touchdown - 12 (1992-1993)
[3rd] Longest Non-Scoring Pass Completed - 78 (to Rod Smith, vs. Kansas City, Aug. 31, 1997)
[Tied for 3rd] Most Touchdown Passes, Game - 4 (several times)

Post-Season Records

• [1st] Most Post-Season Games, Career - 22
• [1st] Most Post-Season Starts, Career - 21
• [1st] Most Total Plays, Career - 752
• [1st] Most Total Plays, Game - 52 (at L.A. Raiders, Jan. 9, 1994)
• [1st] Most Yards Total Offense, Career - 5,425
• [1st] Most Yards Total Offence, Game - 424 (vs. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1990)
• [1st] Best Average Gain Per Play, Game - 10.56 (vs. Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXIII)
• [1st] Most Passes Attempted, Career - 651
• [1st] Most Passes Attempted, Game - 47 (at L.A. Raiders, Jan. 9, 1994)
• [1st] Most Passes Completed, Career - 355
• [1st] Most Passes Completed, Game - 29 (at L.A. Raiders, Jan. 9, 1994)
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Career - 4,964
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Game - 385 (vs. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1990)
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Career - 27
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Game - 3 (at L.A. Raiders, Jan. 9, 1994; vs. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1990; vs. Cleveland, Jan. 17, 1988)
• [1st] Longest Pass Completion - 80 (to Rod Smith, vs. Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXIII; to Mark Jackson, vs. Cleveland, Jan. 17, 1988)
• [1st] Most Interceptions, Career - 21
• [2nd] Most Total Plays, Game - 43 (vs. Jacksonville, Jan. 4, 1997; vs. N.Y. Giants, Super Bowl XXVI)
• [2nd] Most Yards Total Offense, Game - 338 (vs. Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXIII)
• [2nd] Best Average Gain Per Play, Game - 10.34 (vs. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1990)
• [2nd] Most Rushing Yards, Career - 461
• [2nd] Most Rushing Touchdowns, Career - 3
• [2nd] Most Passes Attempted, Game - 38 (vs. Jacksonville, Jan. 4, 1997; vs. Washington, Super Bowl XXVII; at Cleveland, Jan. 11, 1987)
• [2nd] Most Passes Completed, Game - 25 (vs. Jacksonville, Jan. 4, 1997)
• [2nd] Most Yards Passing, Game - 336 (vs. Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXII)
• [2nd] Most Interceptions Thrown, Game - 3 (vs. Washington, Super Bowl XXVII)
• [2nd] Best Average Gain Per Passing Attempt, Career - 7.63
• [2nd] Best Average Gain Per Passing Completion, Career - 13.98
• [2nd] Highest Passer Rating, Career - 79.7
• [2nd] Most Touchdowns Scored, Career - 6
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdown Passes, Game - 2 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 11, 1998; vs. Jacksonville, Jan. 4, 1997; vs. Houston, Jan. 10, 1988; Pittsburgh, Dec. 30, 1984)
• [3rd] Most Total Plays, Game - 42 (at Cleveland, Jan. 11, 1987)
• [3rd] Most Yards Total Offense, Game - 331 (vs. N.Y. Giants, Super Bowl XXVI)
• [3rd] Best Average Gain Per Play, Career - 7.21
• [3rd] Most Rushing Attempts, Career - 94
• [3rd] Best Average Gain Per Rush, Career - 4.9
• [3rd] Most Passes Attempted, Game - 37 (vs. N.Y. Giants, Super Bowl XXVI; vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 30, 1984)
• [3rd] Most Passes Completed, Game - 22 (vs. N.Y. Giants, Super Bowl XXVI; at Cleveland, Jan. 11, 1987
• [3rd] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Career - .545
• [3rd] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Game - .667 (vs. Jacksonville, Jan. 4, 1997; vs. Seattle, 12/24/83)
• [3rd] Most Yards Passing, Career - 304 (vs. N.Y. Giants, Super Bowl XXVI)
• [3rd] Most Interceptions Thrown, Game - 2 (vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl XXIV; vs. New England, Jan. 4, 1987; vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 30, 1984)
• [3rd] Best Interception Avoidance Percentage, Career - .032
• [3rd] Longest Pass Completion - 70t (to Michael Young, vs. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1990)

AFC Statistical Championships
Passing Titles: 1993, 1996
Passing Touchdown Leader: 1993

Team Statistical Championships
Passing Titles: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Passing Touchdown Leader: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998

1990s All-Decade Team
1987 NFL MVP/Player of the Year (AP)
1987 AFC Offensive MVP/Player of the Year (UPI)
1993 AFC Offensive MVP/Player of the Year (UPI)
Super Bowl XXXIII MVP

Year Team W L T Division Finish
1983 Denver Broncos 9 7 0 (3rd)
1984 Denver Broncos 13 3 0 (1st)
1985 Denver Broncos 11 5 0 (2nd)
1986 Denver Broncos 11 5 0 (1st)
1987 Denver Broncos 10 4 1 (1st)
1988 Denver Broncos 8 8 0 (2nd)
1989 Denver Broncos 11 5 0 (1st)
1990 Denver Broncos 5 11 0 (5th)
1991 Denver Broncos 12 4 0 (1st)
1992 Denver Broncos 8 8 0 (3rd)
1993 Denver Broncos 9 7 0 (3rd)
1994 Denver Broncos 7 9 0 (4th)
1995 Denver Broncos 8 8 0 (4th)
1996 Denver Broncos 13 3 0 (1st)
1997 Denver Broncos 12 4 0 (2nd)
1998 Denver Broncos 14 2 0 (1st)

Full Name: John Albert Elway

Birthdate: June 28, 1960

Birthplace: Port Angeles, Washington

High School: Granada Hills (Los Angeles, CA)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January, 31, 2004

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 8, 2004

Presenter: Jessica Elway, John's daughter

Other Members of Class of 2004:  Bob Brown, Carl Eller, Barry Sanders

Pro Career: 16 seasons, 234 games

Drafted: 1st round (1st overall) in 1983 by Baltimore Colts

Transactions: May 2, 1983 -- Elway was traded by Colts to Broncos in exchange for QB Mark Herrman, OL Chris Hinton, and 1st round pick in 1984 draft (G Ron Solt, G, Maryland, 19th overall).

Uniform Number: 7

Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium
August 8, 2004
 

Jessica Elway (presenter):
Thank you, Mr. Berman; thanks, everyone. It is a tremendous honor to be with you today to represent my family, my brother, Jack, and my two sisters Jordan and Juju at such a special time in my dad's life.

As you might suspect, growing up with the last name Elway made for some pretty interesting questions. The most common one we get is, "What's the coolest part of having John Elway as a dad?" "That's easy," we always respond. "We're too young to remember the first three Super Bowls."

My dad would be looked at differently today if he had not won two Super Bowls, but it wouldn't have mattered to my brother and sisters and me. When we look at my dad, we see a different man than everyone else sees. We see Jack's coach. We see a dad who used to be able to beat his daughter - used to, I said - at one-on-one in the driveway. And we see a son who desperately misses his father and sister, never more than today. We called my grandpa "Poppy," and we all wish he could be with us. Dad, this the greatest honor of my life that you have chosen me to speak for him.

Some of our most vivid memories came from Mile High Stadium. But they didn't have anything to do with football. We spent more time watching my dad on the sideline, waiting for him to wave up at us, than we did watching the game. And sure enough, he always did. Looking back, those are some of my most treasured moments.

Just because he played quarterback for the Broncos didn't mean we had to cut him any slack. Whenever we see him on ESPN Classic, we always tease him about his goofy haircuts. When he got a big knot in his arm after tearing his bicep we'd say, "Come on, Dad, show us your Popeye." And when he got into his late 30s, we'd tell him, "Dad, you're too old to be calling everyone 'Dude."'

As proud as we are of my dad, we'd be just as proud if he had not made the Hall of Fame. I can't tell you how much he has taught us about life. He has taught us to be leaders, to set goals, to dream and to never, ever, ever make excuses. Above all, he has taught us to be tough. No one knows more than his children how tough my dad is, how competitive he is, how badly he wanted to win those Super Bowls.

We saw the black-and-blue marks at the kitchen table. We saw the bruises on his arms, the cuts on his fingers and the scrapes on his elbows. Whenever one of us kids would ask him about it, he'd just smile and say, "Oh, it's OK."

He had 12 surgeries during his career.  With all those aches and pains, he didn't exactly have a lot of sympathy when one of us kids came crying. I remember one time, I stubbed my toe, and he said sarcastically, "Uh-oh, better go call 911." It was a funny moment until my little sister Juju called 911.

As long as I'm telling you family secrets, let me tell you another one. After the Broncos won their first Super Bowl, I asked my dad to quit. I told him I wanted him to be happy, to go out on top. But he wouldn't do it. Dad, let me tell you something I've never told you before, and I'll probably never tell you again. Thanks for not listening to me.

Dad, I love you and I'm so proud of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride that I introduce to you now, my dad, John Elway.

John Elway:
Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I have to be totally honest, I have never heard that in Ohio before.  So it is very nice.  Jessie, thank you, sweetheart.  You did awesome.

Six years ago, a great thing happened in my life – the Broncos finally won a Super Bowl. And after that game on the field, I kept asking myself, “We actually won a Super Bowl?” After we beat the Packers that night, our owner, Pat Bowlen, raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy and told everyone, “This one’s for John.” Well, I’m here today to say that this one’s for Pat and this one is for every Broncos fan out there.

First of all, I’d like to congratulate all of my classmates. Barry Sanders, I’ll call him the best to ever play the game even though his dad wouldn’t agree. Bob Brown, I wish I could have played with Bob Brown, that’s for sure. And I’m glad I didn’t have to play against Carl Eller, let’s put it that way. Congratulations.

Someone asked me the other day if I had any regrets about my career. There’s only one, and that’s that my father, Jack, and my sister, Jana, couldn’t be here. My dad wasn’t just my best friend, he was my hero, my mentor and my inspiration. He was the keeper of my reality checklist, and the compass that guided my life and my career. And he taught me the No. 1 lesson of my life – always make your family proud. Now that he’s gone, I thank God every day for letting him see the Broncos win two Super Bowls.

My dad didn’t so much teach me how to play football, but why to play it. He taught me to compete, to never give up, to play every down like it’s your last. He taught me to appreciate the game, to respect it, to play it like it was meant to be played. He taught me to enjoy my successes and learn from my failures. And above all, he told me, “Make sure when you go out with your offensive linemen, you pick up the tab.”

My dad isn’t here today, but my other hero is. But then, you’ve always been there for me mom. Thank you. I hope I’ve made you proud today and every other day. You think going 98 yards in the fourth quarter against the Browns was tough, try cooking breakfast and dinner every day and raising three kids while your husband is off coaching. Try driving your son all over town so he could chase his dreams. And try doing it in your spare time after working 40 hours a week.

I’m going to tell a little secret that my mom and I had. It was when we were going to Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers. My mom was over and sat in my house and sat in the house and offered these heartfelt words of encouragement, words only a mother could say to her son – “Do we really have to go back to the Super Bowl?” I knew right then that we’d better win that one or she’d never go back. Thanks, mom. I love you.

For me, the worst part about going to college was leaving my two sisters. My twin sister, Jana, who obviously got all the looks, she always kept me out of trouble when I did my best to get into it. I was so nervous before my first high school game, I lost my mouthpiece. Sure enough, she was the one who found it. Trust me, it wasn’t the last time she was there to keep an eye on me. And I know she’s looking down here today and I wish you were here Jana.

My sister, Lee Ann, was always the responsible one. She didn’t have much choice since she was the oldest. You always put me first, Lee Ann. And your little brother will always appreciate it. Thank you for your love, your friendship and your unwavering support.

I have so many people to thank today. I want to start with my high school coaches – Jack Neumeier and Darryl Stroh. Coach Neumeier, I know it wasn’t easy for you to be here, but I’m sure proud you are. Thanks for seeing me for what I might be and for showing me how to get there. Coach Stroh, thanks for your leadership and toughness. It really went a long way.

I thought I was a pretty good quarterback when I got to Stanford. As things turned out, I had a lot to learn. Thankfully, Jim Fassel was there to teach me the techniques that got me to the NFL and carried me through 16 seasons. Little did I know that nearly 15 years later, we’d be reunited with the Broncos.

As NFL players go, I was truly one of the lucky ones. I got to play my entire career in the same city. I got to play in the greatest football town in America, and for the greatest fans. And to top it off, I got to play for the greatest owner in professional sports. “Player and owner” doesn’t even begin to describe our relationship. Pat, you’ve been a great boss and an even better friend. Thanks for giving me the chance and the opportunity to pursue the dream we all have as players – and that’s to be world champs.

I’d also like to thank my many teammates – Granada Hills, Stanford University and the Denver Broncos. I’d like to name every one of you here today, but time won’t allow. Just know that I’m proud to have called you my friends and my teammates. This bust here would not be here, and neither would I, if it weren’t for you guys. People sometimes don’t realize how dependent the quarterback is on his teammates to do their jobs. For every guy that ever stepped onto a field with me, I accept this honor today on behalf of all of you. Thanks for protecting me, catching my passes, defending our goal line, for sharing my highs and lows. And more than anything, thanks for not losing confidence in me when I lined up for a snap as a rookie behind the left guard.

Then, there’s Mike Shanahan, who other than my father was the single biggest influence on my career. Thanks, Mike, for your honesty, your friendship, your never-ending attention to detail. Thanks for restoring hope in me, when I have to admit, I was running on empty. Thanks for making me the best player I could be. And thanks most of all for not making me come work out even after I retired.

This weekend has been an emotional time for me. And I’m particularly glad to see that my old coach, Dan Reeves, could be here. Dan, I regret that we couldn’t win a Super Bowl, but we went down fighting, that’s for damn sure. I appreciate all the wins we did have together. And I want you to know that I fed off of your competitive spirit. Thank you.
One of these days, Pat Bowlen, Mike Shanahan and Dan Reeves will be inducted into this great place. Take it from someone who worked alongside them for most of his career. If I belong here, they belong here.

I’d also like to give special thanks to my coach, my teammate, my room dog – Gary Kubiak. Kub, thanks for the support and understanding through the years, and listening. And thanks for not listening each year in training camp as I tried to quit.
Nor would I be standing here, literally, if not for our trainer, Steve Antonopulos. Thanks for all the band-aids, Greek. And thanks for convincing me that I wasn’t hurt as much as I thought I was.

And thanks to our PR man, Jim Saccomano. Sacco, somehow you always managed to lock my lips before I sank the ship.
My best friend, Dennis Engle, you were there from the very beginning as an offensive guard at Stanford. You’ve been a buddy through the years andall the support. I just appreciate you for being a friend. And I appreciate you, more importantly, for making me the scrambler that I was.

This is a proud day for Denver, for the Rocky Mountain region, for the Broncos. My only wish is that it had come earlier. I’m the first Broncos player to pass through these doors, but it’s my sincerest hope that others will soon follow. The Broncos have played in six Super Bowls, more than any other AFC team. No team could do that without having great players worthy of the Hall of Fame.

I’ve only lied to the media twice – that I recall – in my career. Halfway through my career, I started getting questions about whether someday I might find my way to Canton. Every time, I said that I hadn’t given it any thought. That was the first lie. It’s every player’s dream to be here and I was no exception.

I’ll leave my legacy up to others, but I can tell you this – I never felt more proud than the day my coach, Wade Phillips, called me the Lou Gehrig of quarterbacks. As a quarterback, I didn’t always have a great game, nor was I always healthy, but my teammates knew that I’d always show up. I didn’t always succeed, but I persevered. And finally after 14 seasons, with the help of my coaches and teammates, I got to experience the feeling of winning a Super Bowl.

And here, my media friends, is the second lie. I said my career would have been complete without a Super Bowl victory. I obviously said that without ever experiencing the feeling. It was a feeling like few others. And just so we never forgot the feeling, we did it twice.

The only bigger thrill in my life was the birth of my children, Jessie, Jordan, Jack and JuJu. They are what gets me up in the morning. I’d like to thank them most of all. Thanks, guys, for jumping in the bed on Monday mornings when I was too sore to get up. Thanks for keeping me young when my body felt old. Thanks for giving me perspective and keeping me grounded. Thanks for teaching me about life and reminding me what really matters. And thanks most of all for remembering your grandpa’s No. 1 lesson – thanks for making your family proud. I love you very much.

Last but not least, to all those Broncos fans out there, thank you for everything. And this final Mile High Salute is for every one of you out there. Thank you.

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