Elway's rookie season.
He was the first player chosen in the 1983 draft and joined
the Broncos by trade with Baltimore on May 2. Elway started
just 10 games and finished 17th among AFC passers.
Elway led the Broncos
to a 12-2 record in his 14 regular-season starts. He completed
214 of 380 passes for 2,598 yards, with 18 TDs and 15 interceptions.
He also finished third on the team in rushing with 237 yards.
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).
Elway led the Broncos to their first AFC
Championship in nine seasons while earning his first Pro Bowl
appearance. 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. He was also named honorable mention All-NFL (AP) and All-AFC
(UPl-second team). During the champion ship game, Elway
directed the greatest drive in NFL postseason history.
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. In Super Bowl XXI, Elway completed
22 of 37 passes for 304 yards and a TD, also scoring on a four-yard
Elway was named the NFL's MVP (AP) and
the AFC's starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl after turning
in a tremendous season, one in which he became the first AFC
quarterback since Terry Bradshaw 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), and Colorado
Pro Athlete of the Year (Colorado Sports Hall of Fame).
In the AFC Championship Game against the Browns, Elway completed
14 of the 26 passes for 281 yards and three TDs, while also
rushing 11 times for 36 yards. In Super Bowl XXII, he completed
14 of 38 passes for 257 yards, ran for 32 yards on three carries,
and became the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to catch
a pass, a 23-yarder from Steve Sewell. Elway's 56-yard
scoring strike to Ricky Nattiel on Denver's first play from
scrimmage provided the earliest TD in Super Bowl history (elapsed
time of 1:57). He was voted the Broncos' offensive MVP for a
regular-season performance in which he completed 224 of 410
passes for 3,198 yards and 19 TDs.
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.
Elway led Denver to its third AFC Championship
in four years. 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. He had one
of the best performances of his career in the AFC Championship
Game against Cleveland, totaling over 300 yards total offense
for the third time in a conference title game. He completed
20 of 36 passes for 385 yards and three TDs. In Super Bowl XXIV,
he completed 10 of 26 passes for 108 yards and scored Denver's
only TD of the game on a three-yard run.
Elway completed 294 of 502 passes for 3,526
yards, 15 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He gained
258 yards on 50 rushing attempts and scored three touchdowns
on the ground. Elway and Vance Johnson combined on Denver's
most memorable play of the season when on fourth-and-10 against
Kansas City they connected on a 49-yard pass that set up a last-second,
game-winning field goal.
Elway completed 242 of 351 passes for 3,253
yards. He threw 12 touchdown passes and tied a career
low with just 12 interceptions. 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 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 in November. Elway earned two AFC Offensive Player
of the Week honors. Against the Jets in November, he
threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Arthur Marshall, his longest
regular-season TD pass yet.
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). He was the starting quarterback in the Pro
Bowl 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 NFL), 348 completions
(first in the NFL), a 63.2 completion percentage (first in the
AFC), 25 TD passes (first in the AFC), and 4,030 yards (first
in the AFC). Elway's 1.8 interception avoidance percentage
stands as the best in Denver history for any quarterback with
more than 75 single-season attempts. He set new personal and
Denver records for total yards offensively, completions, passing
yards, TD passes and completion percentage. The season
was also Elway's first 4,000-yarder and his eighth 3,000-yarder.
Elway was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week
twice and was named by his teammates as Denver's offensive MVP.
Elway earned his fourth AFC Pro Bowl appearance,
showing all the skills that mark him as an all-time great despite
a very disappointing season for the Broncos. He missed
two of the last three games of the season due to a strained
left knee. He finished the season second in the AFC and
fourth in the NFL in passer rating ( 85.7), and his other season
stats and rankings show 3,490 yards on 494 attempts and 307
completions, with a 2.0 interception percentage, all figures
ranking third in the AFC. His 62.1 completion percentage
was second in the AFC and sixth overall.
completed 316 of 542 passes for 3,970 yards and a career-best
26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He threw for more
than 300 yards on five occasions, also a career best.
He also rushed 40 times for 179 yards and one touchdown, with
a long of 15. He led the AFC in passing yards, and finished
third in both completions and pass attempts. Also, his
fourth-quarter passer rating of 95.2 ranked third in the AFC
and fifth in the NFL. Elway moved into third on the NFL's
all-time total offense list, surpassing Dan Fouts (43,516) when
when his 309 total yards against Jacksonville raised his career
total to 43,800.
earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection as he started 15 regular-season
games and passed for 3,328 yards and 26 touchdowns, which tied
a career high and franchise record set the year before.
Elway led the AFC in quarterback rating, was second in completion
percentage, third in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yardage,
completions, and attempts. His start at Seattle in September
marked the 192nd game he has played in his career -- the most
by any player in Broncos franchise history, surpassing Tom Jackson
who played in 191 games from 1973-86. Elway was named AFC Offensive
Player of the Month for October, a period in which he surpassed
the 3,000-yard career rushing mark with a then-career-high 62
yards against Kansas City, joining Fran Tarkenton as the only
quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for more than 40,000 yards
and rush for more than 3,000 in a career. He also went
over the 3,000-yard passing mark against the Seahawks, marking
the 11th time in his career that he has accomplished this feat.
With Denver's 24-19 win over the Raiders, Elway also surpassed
Tarkenton as the winningest starting quarterback in NFL history.
During the 1997 offseason, Elway had surgery on his right shoulder.
The Broncos were favored to go to the Super Bowl, but lost in
a dissapointing playoff game against Jacksonville.
enjoyed yet another spectacular season. He was the recipient
of the NFL Players Association Mackey Award as the top quarterback
in the AFC. He helped Denver lead the NFL in total offense for
the second straight season and in scoring offense for the 1997-98
postseason. Elway's postseason performance elevated him
to the upper echelon of the all-time NFL playoff passing charts,
leaving him second behind Joe Montana in passing yards (4,273)
and attempts (565), third behind Montana and Jim Kelly in completions
(310) and tied for fourth with Roger Staubach in touchdown passes
(24). In the playoffs, he also increased his NFL-record
number of career fourth-quarter game-winning or game-tying drives
to 45, with fourth-quarter wins at Kansas City in the AFC divisional
playoffs and in Super Bowl XXXII where Denver's 31-24 victory
over Green Bay gave Elway his first championship.
Elway led Denver to 13-0
start, tying for second-best in league history. During
week 12, he joined Dan Marino as the only passers to throw for
more than 50,000 yards in a career. He then threw four
touchdowns passes the following week to move into third place
on the all-time TD pass list. A sellout Mile High crowd
saluted Elway after Denver's 23-10 AFC Championship win over
the New York Jets. Elway became the first quarterback
to start in five Super Bowls. The future Hall of Famer put on
a Super Bowl MVP performance in a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta
Falcons, completing 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown.
It was his 36th career 300-yard passing day. He also scored
on a three-yard run to put the game out of reach in the third
quarter. Elway made his final game one of his best as
he went out on top, MVP of the Super Bowl. Elway threw a touchdown
pass in the Pro Bowl on the last play of his career.