John Elway grew up surrounded by football. His father, Jack Elway, was a high school football coach in Port Angeles, Washington when John and his twin sister were born. The family moved all over the western United States as Jack was promoted to bigger and better teams, eventually becoming head coach of Cal State-Northridge. Even before he was a player himself, John spent his life chasing football dreams.
By the time the family settled in California, it was time for John to start thinking about college. He enrolled in Stanford, where he played both football and baseball. He was an instant success at football, narrowly missing the Heisman trophy on more than one occasion. Despite not actually winning the coveted award, Elway’s name is forever synonymous with Stanford football. He set passing and offense records and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
After his time at Stanford, Elway went on to play for the Denver Broncos, where he was considered to be one of the best quarterbacks ever drafted. His sixteen years with the Broncos were some of the most celebrated in football history. Elway was awarded NFL Most Valuable Player (1987), NFL Man of the Year (1992), NFL Passing Yards Leader (1993), was a nine-time Pro Bowl champion, and of course has two Super Bowl wins under his belt. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
After retiring from football, Elway used the business acumen he picked up from Stanford to invest in a few car dealerships and steakhouses in the Denver area. The dealerships have shown great success and remain profitable to this day, despite the recent ups and downs of the global economy. Elway has gone on record saying he always planned on having a career after his football glory days and investing in car dealerships has turned out to be a good fit for him. After selling several dealerships to Auto Nation for $87 million in the late 1990s, he jumped back into the business in 2003. Instead of cutting his losses during the 2008 recession, Elway bought up several more dealerships, which ended up paying off well for him in the long run. Elway has maintained his ties to Stanford, notably participating in hundreds of interviews with writer and fellow Stanford alum Jason Cole, work which has culminated in Cole’s release of his biography on Elway just this year. The biography, Elway: A Relentless Life, details many of Elway’s entertaining, and often humorous, experiences at Stanford. Elway clearly valued his time at the prestigious university and thanked his fellow Stanford teammates during his Hall of Fame induction speech. While his No. 7 jersey was retired both at Stanford and with the Broncos, Elway doesn’t show any signs of slowing down off the field.