Daily Driver, Super Bowl Edition: “The Drive”


Drew Brees Desmond Howard | Vince Lombardi | John Elway | 1972 Miami Dolphins


It was a bit of an embarrassingly star-struck moment for me, not for any other reason than the fact that I was really caught off-guard. I mean, I was watching myself shake his hand but it sure felt more like I was shaking one of those fake Incredible Hulk hands that I got for Christmas when I was a child. He had a big grin on his face, one that was so genuine maybe because of how content he was with the legacy he left behind. After spending so many years being heralded as one of the greatest of all time, it’s a little hard to believe that the well-being of his legacy came down to one game and more specifically, one play.

It was late. And getting later. Not just in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXII but also in John Elway’s career. Here he was, a 37 year old quarterback with scars on his forearms, support braces on his knees and tape on his ankles. Everything about him looked like a man who had done everything he could do at the professional level. And on his fingers? Nothing but a gold wedding band. When John Elway took the snap, he didn’t have to look up at the scoreboard to know the game was tied or that this was third down and his last chance to sustain this momentum-swinging drive for the Broncos. And he didn’t have to look at his hands to realize what was at stake.

Scanning, looking, frantically trying to find an open teammate. His internal alarm clock was blaring, urging him to make a decision. This was a classic fight-or-flight moment. John Elway chose both.

He sprinted through the Green Bay defense, staring down Packer safety LeRoy Butler as he neared the 1st down marker. Slide John, SLIDE! YOU’RE THE QUARTERBACK! Not tonight. Not at this point in his career. John Elway launched himself forward amidst 3 Green Bay defenders that crashed into him at full speed nearly simultaneously. And for a split second, his legacy hung in mid-air. But as he came barreling back down to Earth, completing a 180 degree turn in the air, John Elway knew what he had done.

He had taken all of the doubt, all of the possible negativity surrounding his previously unfulfilling career and put an emphatic end to it. John Elway made the decision that he was in control of his destiny. That tonight, his will would reign.

Yesterday’s Daily Driver (1/30)


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