Few have worn their team colors as proudly as No. 7, the longtime quarterback of the Denver Broncos. First arriving at Denver in 1983, John Elway stayed for 16 seasons that ran the gamut from spectacular to dismal. He became as identified with Denver as Johnny Unitas with Baltimore, Terry Bradshaw with Pittsburgh, and Roger Staubach with Dallas. Despite a career featuring more than 300 touchdown passes and more than 51,000 passing yards, the road to success was not easy. Elway appeared in, and lost, three Super Bowls during the late 1980s. Critics lampooned his big salary and small results, overlooking the fact he had won five AFC championships along the way. Redemption finally came in the late 1990s, when an aged Elway won two Super Bowls, one of which is considered to be one of the most competitive and exciting of them all. Now, the retired Hall of Famer benefits various charities for disadvantaged youth in Colorado.
Samuel Willard Crompton is a major contributor to the American National Biography (1999) and to the Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Lives two volume sports edition. Crompton lives and works in the Berkshire Hills of his native western Massachusetts.