Elway finds the keys to success on fifth shot

Broncos quarterback takes home MVP honors and a new car, too

Super Bowl Xxxiii

February 01, 1999|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

MIAMI -- It only took five tries, but John Elway finally got the hang of playing well in the Super Bowl last night.

In his fifth Super Bowl appearance, he got his first Super Bowl MVP honor and he found out a new car goes with the award .

"That's all I need is some more cars," the veteran Denver quarterback said with a smile after the Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-19, in Super Bowl XXXIII.

That was a reference to the fact he has a string of car dealerships in Denver that he recently sold to Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga for $82.5 million.

Elway doesn't need the cars, but he was excited about the victory.

"I am just thrilled to death that we won. I am thrilled to death to be a part of this team. Thrilled to death that I can help them win. This is what we play for, to have this opportunity. To be able to do it two years in a row is unbelieveable," he said.

He was so happy that he kept ducking all the questions about his possible retirement, although the victory makes it less likely that he'll actually retire.

"I think that this definitely throws a kink in it. I am going to take some time to really relish this win. It has been a great year. It was a lot of fun. I got the greatest teammates in the world. I am just happy that I can play with them and we will sit down and figure out what happens next year," he said.

He added, "That is what I came back for and what I had been working nine months for so I am going to enjoy it a little bit."

His teammates will certainly lobby him to return. "Do we have a chance to three-peat? Yes we do. Even without John," said Shannon Sharpe. "Yeah, but that chance goes to 95, 98 percent with John coming back."

He could savor this one because of his past frustrations in the Super Bowl.

After losing his first three Super Bowl appearances, he passed for 123 yards against Green Bay and posted his first Super Bowl victory last season. Elway, though, doesn't agree with the perception that he didn't have a good showing last year.

"I didn't think I struggled last year. I did what I was asked to do last year [because] we had the running game and didn't have to throw it," he said.

This year, the Falcons made a major commitment to stop Terrell Davis, but that left them vulnerable to the pass.

Elway, who passed for only 182 and 173 yards in his first two playoff games this year, topped those figures with 199 in the first half and finished with 336.

His big play was an 80-yard touchdown strike to Rod Smith, who beat Eugene Robinson deep.

"I had run that play earlier and Eugene had come out of center field at that time and jumped the back. This is when I had Rod on the comeback. We hoped we'd get the same coverage and sure enough, we did. Eugene stayed flat and we were able to run the post behind him," he said.

Elway misfired on his last pass when he threw deep and Smith ran a comeback route.

"That was my fault. Rod had a comeback. I forgot. I thought he had the go route so I overthrew him. At the time, I didn't know anything about the record."

He had a chance to break Joe Montana's record of 357 passing yards if he had completed that last pass.

Elway was able to celebrate early because it didn't come down to the last play the way it did in last year's game.

"There is nothing that feels better than this. They both feel great," he said.

Elway appeared to be crying at the end of the game, but he said, "I don't know if I was crying. It definitely got a little bit emotional there and I was just really kind of thanking God for the opportunity because this is the greatest game in the world, so yeah, it was emotional. That was definitely emotional for me."

Elway waited 16 years to play the kind of game he did in the Super Bowl last night.

Pub Date: 2/01/99

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