Saturday, November 17, 2007

John Elway's Greatest Last-Minute Comeback: Nobody Remembers It

John Elway is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play football, maybe one of the three greatest. The one thing that Elway did best, he did more often than anybody else: the last-minute comeback. He had 50% more miracle endings than the second best, Joe Montana. Yet what is perhaps Elway's greatest comeback of his life (I found an amazing YouTube clip), nobody even remembers it.

It occurred in -what else - the last drive in the last minute of the final game of his senior year in college. I remember it so well because he did it against my school in my freshman year. I doubt a quarterback has ever had more pressure. Not only would it be the last time he touched the ball in college, the game had much more meaning. It was his rivalry game. And not just any rivalry, one of the six or seven greatest rivalries in college history. He also needed the victory because a bowl game berth was hanging on it. So was his personal quest for the Heisman Trophy and the eye of the scouts who would decide his NFL future.

The odds were stacked against him. With 4th down and 17 on his own 13 with less than a minute to play and down by two points, he needed to drive his team down the field and score. And he did it. How could John Elway pull out a miracle in his last college game over his rival to get into a bowl and win the Heisman Trophy and nobody remembers it?

It's because he also made what could be the biggest blunder in football history. In calling the final time out to set up the win, he neglected to look at the clock before calling it and left some time on the clock after the game winning score. The consequences were so unbelievably devastating and of biblical proportions that they overshadowed his miracle. See if you can pick up on why Elway's drive is forgotten in history. View his amazing feat - and tragic undoing - in this YouTube clip.

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