Legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway turned 60 on Sunday, prompting NFL fans to look back on the finest accomplishments from his illustrious NFL career. While the former No. 1 overall pick certainly has plenty to be proud of, these five moments stand out as emblematic of Elway's greatness.
5. Elway Delivers the Broncos a Third Championship by Signing Peyton Manning
While his playing career was remarkable, Elway's front office tenure with the Denver Broncos has been a bit spotty. However, the former quarterback played a crucial role in attracting free agent quarterback Peyton Manning to Denver, which eventually helped the franchise bring home its third Lombardi Trophy in 2015.
4. Elway Wins 1987 NFL MVP Award
After reaching his first Super Bowl in 1986, Elway put together a spectacular season in 1987, racking up 3,198 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in just 12 games of work. The performance earned Elway his only NFL MVP award, and the quarterback led his team to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, a loss to Washington.
3. "The Drive"
"The Drive" was, in many respects, the first sign that Elway was on his way to a historic NFL career. Down by a touchdown to the Cleveland Browns late in the AFC Championship game, Denver's young quarterback led his team 98 yards in 37 seconds, tying a game which the Broncos would win in overtime. While Denver would later lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, "The Drive" remains one of the proudest moments in franchise history.
2. Elway Wins His First Championship with "Helicopter Run"
Elway captured his first championship in 1997, defeating the defending champion Green Bay Packers in a close contest. With Super Bowl XXXII tied at 17 late in the third quarter, Elway put his body on the line to gain a first down, taking hits from opposite directions and flying through the air. The play turned the tide of the game, and delivered the legendary signal-caller a long-awaited ring.
1. Elway Goes Out on Top with Super Bowl XXXIII Win
While Elway's "helicopter run" and "The Drive" may stand out as more memorable, the Hall of Famer's ability to end his NFL career with two consecutive championships is an incredibly impressive feat. After titles eluded him for much of his career, Elway and the Broncos blew out the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, with the quarterback earning the Super Bowl MVP award and retiring as a champion.