Elway plans for another Denver dream finish

Wed Feb 3, 2016 2:59pm EST
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By Larry Fine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - John Elway lived the dream 17 years ago when he hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champion before riding off into the sunset of retirement after a Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos.

Now Elway is trying to orchestrate another happy ending for the Broncos as general manager and possibly another perfect exit for one of the game's best players, Peyton Manning, when Denver meet the Carolina Panthers in Sunday's Super Bowl 50.

Two years ago, Denver rode a high-scoring offense to the NFL title game, with Manning throwing for an NFL record 55 touchdown passes and record yardage before suffering a 43-8 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.

"We broke all of those records that year, but we had the opportunity that offseason to get better on the defensive side with (outside linebacker) DeMarcus (Ware) coming available, (safety) T.J. Ward was out there, (cornerback) Aqib (Talib), and then (safety) Darian Stewart this year," Elway told reporters.

"Plus, we've drafted on the defensive side of the ball, and I think it's all come together."

Denver enter the Super Bowl as the National Football League's top-rated defense, a metamorphosis similar to one that helped Elway achieve a career goal of winning the title as a quarterback.

For all his previous strong-armed passing feats, Elway was not able to wear the NFL crown until the Broncos developed a dynamic ground game with Terrell Davis to make them complete.

That change led to back-to-back Super Bowl titles for Denver, with Elway, who played on Denver teams that lost three Super Bowls in a span of four years in the 1980s, calling a brilliant career quits after the triumphant 1998 season.   Continued...

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway celebrates after defeating the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports