Looking Back on XXXVIII: Icing for Elway’s Cake

Editor’s Note: With the Super Bowl approaching on February 2, 2014 we here at Triple B dug into the archives to find some observations on the 10th Anniversary of our coverage of Super Bowl XXXVIII played in Houston, TX on February 1, 2004. Today we take a look back at the Hall of Fame announcement that made Broncos quarterback turned executive John Elway a hall of famer.

While there have been many memorable experiences for me this week while covering the events leading up to Super Bowl XXXVIII they all pale in comparison to Saturday’s activities.

After finding a free place to park downtown, in and of itself a victory, I trekked three miles to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

After catching my breath it was time to head to a press conference announcing the latest class of inductees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame which includes Barry Sanders and John Elway; both elected during their first year of eligibility.

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to cover the Super Bowl. With the game approaching once again it is time to take a look back. Photo R. Anderson

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to cover the Super Bowl. With the game approaching once again it is time to take a look back.
Photo R. Anderson

Elway and Sanders are two players who truly exemplify people who can be admired both on and off of the football field.

Although Elway became one of my favorite players to watch, I did not always have such a high opinion of him.

When Elway was first drafted out of Stanford by the Baltimore Colts in 1983 he declared that he would rather play baseball for the New York Yankees than become a member of the Colts in Baltimore.

Instead of ending up with the Colts or the Yankees, Elway became a Denver Bronco and the rest became history leading up to two consecutive Super Bowl Victories before his retirement in 1998.

As it turned out the whole Baltimore Colts organization soon moved into a domed stadium in Indianapolis so Elway would not have played in Baltimore anyway if he had stayed with the Colts.

I have often wondered if playing in a domed stadium as opposed to Mile High Stadium would have changed the way Elway played the game.

I guess that is one of those mysteries that will never be solved.

While Elway slighted my Colts, who in turn slighted Baltimore, I soon discovered that I could not help but root for him to do well.

Even after a trio of Super Bowl appearances where the Broncos would lose big to the NFC powerhouses Elway still kept his composure and kept plugging along.

That patience would pay off late in his career.

While many of the quarterbacks drafted with Elway during the quarterback rich 1983 draft had long since retired, old #7 was still going strong up in Denver.

In fact some might go so far as to say that some of Elway’s best years for late in his career.

In true Hollywood fashion Elway ended up with the last laugh as he guided the Broncos to two straight Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998.

After being crowned Super Bowl MVP in 1998 Elway decided to hang up his golden arm and concentrate on his business interests which include ownership of an Arena Football League team in Denver.

Saturday the final accolade for a great quarterback came one step closer to reality while providing the perfect close to a perfect week.

So As my week of covering Houston’s turn at the Super Bowl buffet comes to an end I am sure I will be left with memories that will last a lifetime.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it is time to go to the Super Bowl but first I need to set my VCR to make sure I don’t miss any of the commercials.

Epilogue: Since this column was first written in 2004 a funny turn of events transpired to make this year’s Super Bowl even more memorable.

John Elway, went on to a management role with the Denver Broncos and two years ago brought in a man named Peyton Manning to be his quarterback. Like Elway, Manning was drafted by the Colts. Unlike Elway, Manning played for the Colts for many years before joining the Broncos and leading them to an AFC Championship which had not been done since Elway’s last season in 1998. While it is unlikely that Peyton Manning will retire like Elway did if the Broncos win Sunday it is clear that the team has returned to the top of the AFC once more.

Copyright 2004 R. Anderson, Reposted 2014