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Publisher's Summary

The unauthorized biography of John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback, two-time Super Bowl champion, now president of football operations and general manager of the Denver Broncos.

John Elway's historic moments are known by two-word phrases. He was at the center of the wildest play in college football history, simply known as "The Play". Before he signed a pro contract, there was "The Trade". His NFL career included "The Drive" and "The Fumble", and, of course, "The Helicopter", one of the most iconic highlights in Super Bowl lore. There are so many memorable comeback victories and heroic plays that people have to make lists rather than consider Elway in the context of any singular event.

Yet Elway's story is filled with one challenge after another. At Stanford, he never played in a bowl game. He was ripped for being petulant after refusing to sign with the Baltimore Colts when he was drafted number one overall and later for his failure to get along with Coach Dan Reeves. Over the first 10 years of his career, Elway led Denver to three Super Bowls, but lost in progressively worse fashion each time. Finally, after 15 years of perseverance, Elway led the Broncos to back-to-back championships, including one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. Elway won the MVP award in his final Super Bowl and then walked away from the game.

Within four years, Elway's father and twin sister both died, and he went through a difficult divorce. Reeling in his post-retirement, he returned to football...at the bottom, running the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. He waited more than a decade to return to his beloved Broncos. While many people doubted him initially, Elway navigated the Broncos through massive changes and to victory in Super Bowl 50, making Elway the rare Hall of Famer to win a title both on and off the field. Elway has put his passion for competition on display in a way that only a handful of other NFL greats have ever done, and Elway is the most complete look at one of the most accomplished legends in the history of American sports.

©2020 Jason Cole (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"The author convincingly shows that no other quarterback has combined [Elway's] drive, intelligence, willpower, and athleticism, and none has been so relentless in seeking self-improvement and gridiron glory.... Cole is a fluent interpreter of the game of football and its arcana, and he has a considered appreciation for what it is that makes a great leader.... Fans of the Broncos - and football in general - will enjoy this portrait of one of the game's greatest players." (Kirkus Reviews)

"For a man who possesses more natural talent than any quarterback in history, John Elway never had it particularly easy on his path to the top of his profession, nor did he seek any shortcuts. Fueled by a relentlessly competitive nature and a gritty, understated toughness, Elway fought through a series of institutional and interpersonal obstacles to reach his goals, and he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Jason Cole was fortunate enough to witness Elway's excellence at an early age, and he kept filling up notebooks while chronicling the quarterback's peaks and valleys for the next several decades. Like his subject, Cole is unafraid to go all-in and unbending in his pursuit of success. The result is a comprehensive, uncompromising and thoroughly compelling breakdown of a living legend who continues to chase greatness, every single day." (Mike Silver, NFL Network)

"Learned so much about No. 7 in Elway, as Jason Cole connected many dots with his well-researched, deep dive into the remarkable career and life of an icon. It is an enjoyable read, too, well-written with an abundance of details and context. Not only is this a must for any given John Elway fan, but it is a treasure that needed to be documented for the sake of football history." (Jarrett Bell, NFL columnist, USA Today Sports)

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Analyzing greatness

It is my understanding John Elway did not like this book. Considering how much of his personal life was exposed, that's understandable. But it was a thorough story of his life by an author who clearly admires him. The homework that must have gone into writing this book was over the top. I am sorry John didn't like it. He is one of my true heroes and I enjoyed it very much and was sad when it ended.