On This Day: John Elway Leads Broncos on ‘The Drive’ 34 Years Ago

by Thad Mitchell

As one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step on a football field, John Elway has his fair share of “wow” moments.

Upon entering the National Football League in 1983, Elway played his entire 16-year career with the Denver Broncos. The Baltimore Colts made him the number one overall pick in the NFL draft that year but would later be traded to Denver.

The quarterback played his college ball at Stanford University where he was a unanimous selection for the All-American team in 1982. He also excelled in baseball as a youth and strongly considered a professional baseball career before ultimately choosing football.

When it comes to the gridiron, it doesn’t get more iconic than John Elway. The gunslinger quarterback has a list of accolades that stack up against the best of the best. He is a member of both the NFL Hall-of-Fame and the College Football Hall-of-Fame. He won the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1987 and is a two time Super Bowl winner.

John Elway Orchestrates Career-Defining Drive

Though his accomplishments are vast, Elway’s defining moment came on this very date (Jan. 11) in 1987. Known as “The Drive” in league circles and among NFL fans, it is largely considered Elway’s’ greatest moment as a competitor.

“The Broncos need to go 98 yards to tie the AFC Championship (game),” the tweet from Bro Bible says. “John Elway engineered ‘The Drive’ and beat the Browns on this day 34 years ago.”

Down by a touchdown to the Browns, Elway and the Broncos took the ball at their own 2-yard line with five minutes and 43 seconds left in regulation. What happened next will live in NFL lore forever.

Elway orchestrated a 15-play, 98-yard drive to tie the game. The quarterback would complete six of nine passes in route to the tying score. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime with a field goal from kicker Rich Karlis.

Elway would take the MVP that year with many pointing to “The Drive” as the reason for the prestigious award.