Elway: A Relentless Life

Elway: A Relentless Life

by Jason Cole


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The unauthorized biography of John Elway, Hall of Fame Quarterback, two-time Super Bowl Champion, now President of Football Operations and General Manager of the Denver Broncos.

John Elway's historic moments are known by two-word phrases. He was at the center of the wildest play in college football history, simply known as "The Play." Before he signed a pro contract, there was "The Trade." His NFL career included "The Drive" and "The Fumble," and, of course, "The Helicopter," one of the most iconic highlights in Super Bowl lore. There are so many memorable comeback victories and heroic plays that people have to make lists rather than consider Elway in the context of any singular event.

Yet Elway's story is filled with one challenge after another. At Stanford, he never played in a Bowl game. He was ripped for being petulant after refusing to sign with the Baltimore Colts when he was drafted No. 1 overall, and later for his failure to get along with coach Dan Reeves. Over the first 10 years of his career, Elway led Denver to three Super Bowls, but lost in progressively worse fashion each time. Finally, after fifteen years of perseverance, Elway led the Broncos to back-to-back championships, including the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Elway won the MVP award in his final Super Bowl and then walked away from the game.

Within four years, Elway's father and twin sister both died, and he went through a difficult divorce. Reeling in his post-retirement, he returned to football . . . at the bottom, running the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. He waited more than a decade to return to his beloved Broncos. While many people doubted him initially, Elway navigated the Broncos through massive changes and to victory in Super Bowl 50, making Elway the rare Hall of Famer to win a title both on and off the field. Elway has put his passion for competition on display in a way that only a handful of other NFL greats have ever done, and Elway is the most complete look at one of the most accomplished legends in the history of American sports.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316455770
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/15/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 69,246
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jason Cole has covered or written about pro football since 1992 and has been a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2013. He has worked for publications such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Herald, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Cole's five-year investigation of Reggie Bush and the University of Southern California resulted in Bush becoming the only player to ever relinquish his Heisman Trophy and USC losing its 2004 national championship.

Cole has co-authored six books, including Giant with Plaxico Burress, Heart for the Game with Simon Keith, and Ocho Cinco with Chad Johnson. Prior to covering the NFL, Cole covered the NBA, Major League Baseball, and high school sports in the San Francisco Bay Area. Among his breaking news stories was uncovering famed impostor James Hogue at both Princeton University and Palo Alto High School. Cole teaches sports writing at the University of Florida and is the father of two Eagle Scouts. He is a graduate of Stanford University, which he attended at the same time as Elway.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Prologue xix

Chapter 1 Jack 1

Chapter 2 The Barracuda and the Sheriff 15

Chapter 3 From a Chevy 25

Chapter 4 An Odd Way to L.A. 33

Chapter 5 Happy Jack's Flying Circus 39

Chapter 6 High School 46

Chapter 7 The Recruiting Trail 53

Chapter 8 Number One Versus Number One 57

Chapter 9 Early Signs of Trouble 67

Chapter 10 Elway Versus Elway 74

Chapter 11 Ups, Downs, and An Awful Ending 79

Chapter 12 Kill Or Be Killed 89

Chapter 13 George Steinbrenner's Dream 98

Chapter 14 Pete Rozelle's Quandary 104

Chapter 15 Edgar Kaiser and the Pursuit of Elway 116

Chapter 16 Arm of Gold, Knee of Tin 132

Chapter 17 Dan Reeves and the QB Culture War 140

Chapter 18 Driving the Browns Out of Cleveland 150

Chapter 19 Super Misery 161

Chapter 20 Bradshaw Pours it On, 49ers Reign 168

Chapter 21 Pat Bowlen, Red Teeth, and Reeves 175

Chapter 22 The End With Reeves 183

Chapter 23 The Wade Years 190

Chapter 24 Don't Be Afraid to Manage 196

Chapter 25 Sunflower Seeds 207

Chapter 26 Beating the Packers 219

Chapter 27 1998 227

Chapter 28 Retirement 237

Chapter 29 The Arena Challenge 254

Chapter 30 Paige 261

Chapter 31 Tebowmania 261

Chapter 32 Peyton 273

Chapter 33 Fox Trots, Manning Dances 285

Chapter 34 Miracle On 13655 Broncos Parkway 296

Chapter 35 Super Bowl 50 310

Chapter 36 The Next Challenge 315

Acknowledgments 331

Index 333

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