We all know and respect John Elway mostly for his accolades in professional football. But the Pac-12 made incredibly sure not to ignore his college accomplishments, as in the lead-up to Saturday’s conference championship between Stanford and USC, Elway was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player Of The Century.
Legends in the house. The Offensive and Defensive Players of the Century @johnelway and @RonnieLottHOF. #Pac12FCG pic.twitter.com/o5L0Tjnd8V
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) December 5, 2015
The number of people that have had high success in both the college and professional levels of football, and also in more than role (in Elway’s case, as a player and executive) is a very small list. The proof that Elway is one of football’s greatest figures in history continues to build.
While Elway alone could demand that Broncos fans hold Stanford in high regard, it doesn’t end there. Though he’ll be known more as a Buccaneer, John Lynch spent the last four years of his illustrious career in Denver. And then, of course, there’s Ed McCaffrey, a huge fan favorite during and surrounding the Broncos’ Super Bowl runs.
And speaking of McCaffrey, the big reason why Elway’s Cardinal was able to defeat Lott’s Trojans twice this year has to do with his son Christian. Not everyone has been aware of how well Christian McCaffrey has been playing due to the inherent East Coast bias of college football, but by the end of the year he played so outstanding that he forced his way into being invited for the Heisman Trophy presentation:
The 2015 #Heisman Finalists: @KingHenry_2 (@AlabamaFTBL), @cmccaffrey5 (@StanfordFball) & @shaunwatson4 (@ClemsonFB) pic.twitter.com/zP8iLrbJN5
— The Heisman Trophy (@HeismanTrophy) December 7, 2015
One person that has not missed out on McCaffrey is Peter King, who devoted a section of this week’s MMQB article to him. The whole section is worth the read, but there’s one paragraph in particular that just jumps out:
McCaffrey, 6-feet and 201 pounds, and from the Denver suburbs, runs about a 4.45 40. Watching the game Saturday night (I made an exception), I saw that he’s the kind of one-cut, upfield runner another Coloradoan, Mike Shanahan, preferred for his Broncos backs. He finds a crease and tries to wedge through it; if not, he’s rarely tackled for a loss—he’ll take a yard or two, and eventually seems to figure he’ll break free in space for a big gain.
Admit it: although there’s a long way to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, when McCaffrey would be first eligible, and so much has to fall into the correct place, the thought of him following his father in playing for a fellow Cardinal just sounds really cool.