At 59 years old, Denver Broncos retired quarterback John Elway still spends most of his days on the football field as the General Manager and President of Football Operations for the Broncos. This month, 20 years ago, Elway’s beloved NFL team retired his jersey. But the former quarterback has a lot more to celebrate. He’s kept himself busy in his fifties while battling a crippling disease.
A legendary NFL quarterback
In 1999, John Elway retired from playing pro football after a successful 16-year NFL career. Regarded as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, he’s accumulated an impressive list of stats:
- Three-time Super Bowl Champion (twice as a player, once as an executive) and Super Bowl MVP
- One of the only NFL quarterbacks to start in five Super Bowls and score a rushing touchdown in four of those games
- Played in 22 postseason games, with 14 wins
- Best winning percentage in league history (148-82-1)
- Selected to nine Pro Bowl games as quarterback
- Sixth in the NFL for career passing attempts, passing yards, and completions
- Seventh in the NFL for 300 career passing touchdowns
- Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame
- Named NFL Man of the Year (1992) and NFL Most Valuable Player (1987)
John Elway’s No. 7 jersey
On a cool Monday night in September 1999, Bronco fans went wild as John Elway stepped onto the Mile High Stadium field in Denver. During halftime of a game against the Dolphins, his No. 7 jersey was officially retired. On the emotional night, Elway was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
A Super Bowl champion
Elway is no stranger to the Super Bowl. His record of starting five of them has only been broken by the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady. The Broncos competed but lost the Super Bowl in 1987, 1988, and 1990. With many personnel changes, Denver rebounded and won their first Super Bowl championship in 1997 against the Green Bay Packers. Broncos owner, Pat Bowlen, held the Vince Lombardi Trophy afterward and said, “This one’s for John!”
The following season, the Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 to become the champions once again. Elway was named Super Bowl MVP. In 2016, as the Broncos’ general manager, he led the team to win Super Bowl 50. Afterward, he held the Lombardi Trophy in the air and said, “This one’s for Pat!” — a tribute to now deceased Bowlen.
Where is John Elway now?
Elway’s greatest off-field accomplishment is his family, which brings him great joy. Concerning his “other family,” the Broncos franchise, it’s where his career started and will most likely end. As general manager, Elway was responsible for signing Peyton Manning as Denver’s new quarterback. This led to a Broncos Super Bowl championship.
However, times have changed and the Broncos are struggling to be competitive AFC West. Elway needs to change his strategy and look at new coaching options to get the team focused. If he can’t make this happen, it may be time for Elway to be replaced with a more forward-thinking general manager.
Elway’s business ventures
Elway has a projected net worth of $145 million dollars. As Broncos general manager, he earns a salary of $3 million per year. Elway sits on several advisory boards in his hometown of Denver. He is very active in the community through several business ventures:
- Owner of auto dealerships in Colorado and California
- Investor in Vroom.com, a used car website
- Co-owns four Elway’s Steakhouse Restaurants in Colorado, where the motto is “Always at Elway’s“
- Founder of seven Cellars Wine, known for the Elway’s Reserve label
- Endorser for American Financing
John Elway’s diagnosis of Dupuytren’s contracture
Elway recently revealed that 15 years ago he was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture, a debilitating hand condition. Over time, he became unable to hold a football. This was crippling for him and he knew he had to find a way to slow down the disease.
Elway partnered with the “Facts on Hands” campaign and Endo Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness about this rare condition. He’s since had surgery on both hands to help alleviate the constriction of his ring and pinkie fingers. Elway has explained, “I can now get both hands on the football again and it feels really great!”