John Albert Elway (born June 28, 1960) was a quarterback in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos from 1983 through 1998.
Elway was born in Port Angeles, Washington. He attended Granada Hills High School in Granada Hills, California, and then Stanford University, where he was a baseball player and quarterback. At Stanford he played in one of the most famous football games of all time, the 1982 Big Game versus the University of California at Berkeley, which ended with "The Play", an amazing play with five laterals that allowed Cal to win the game. By the end of his senior year, Elway had set nearly every Pac-10 and Stanford career record for total offense and passing. He was a consensus All-American and finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting. He graduated with a degree in economics.
In the 1983 draft, Elway was selected as the 1st overall pick by the Baltimore Colts, but he threatened to quit football and play professional baseball if he was not traded (he had by then played two summers in the New York Yankees organization). The Colts traded him to the Denver Broncos for two veterans and a first-round pick in the 1984 draft. In his fifth season, Elway was named league MVP. He finally won a Super Bowl in the 1997 season after three previously failed attempts, behind the overwhelming running game of Terrell Davis. In 1998, the Broncos repeated this feat and Elway was awarded the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII; it was his last game.
On May 2, 1999, at the age of 38, Elway announced his retirement from pro football. Elway is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks to ever play the game. He has the best winning percentage in league history (148-82-1), and is tied for most Pro Bowl selections for a quarterback (nine). He is second to Dan Marino in career passing yards, attempts, and completions. He is the first quarterback to have played in five Super Bowls.
Elway also holds the record for most game-winning or game-tying scoring drives in the fourth quarter, with 47. Surprisingly often, if John Elway had the ball late in the fourth quarter and was within a touchdown, he would tie or win the game. John Elway had many comeback opportunities because, for most of his career, the Broncos were a good team, but not a dominant team: Elway holds the record for most times sacked (516).
He and his ex-wife Janet have four children: daughters Jessica, Jordan, Juliana, and a son, Jack.
His number 7 jersey has been retired by the Denver Broncos. In 2004, Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1979, Elway was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals to play baseball.
In the 1981 summer draft, he was the first selection of the New York Yankees. The following year he hit .314 and a club-high 24 runs while playing for the Oneonta, New York single-A farm club.
In the 1983 NFL draft, he was selected as the 1st overall pick by the Baltimore Colts and on May 2 was traded to the Denver Broncos.
In 1987, he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player and the AFC Offensive MVP.
In 1991, he became the only quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 200 yards in the same season for seven consecutive seasons.
He was named the AFC Offensive MVP in 1993 when he passed for over 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.
In 1997, he led the Broncos to their first ever Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII. His three previous attempts in Super Bowls XXI, XXII, and XXIV were unsuccessful.
On January 31, 1999, in Super Bowl XXXIII he passed for 336 yards in a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Elway was named the Super Bowl MVP.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times during his 16 seasons with the Broncos.
Over his professional career, he led his teams to a record 47 fourth quarter comebacks.
He led the NFL all-time list with 140 wins as a starting quarterback. He was also sacked 516 times, more than any other quarterback.
At retirement, Elway's 300 career touchdown passes placed him third behind Dan Marino and Fran Tarkenton.
He was only the second quarterback to pass for at least 3,000 yards in 12 seasons.
On January 31, 2004, he was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On August 8, 2004, he was inducted to the Hall of Fame along with Bob Brown, Carl Eller, and Barry Sanders.