We are seven days away from the Super Bowl, and this one’s for John!
John Elway, that is.
Those words were uttered by Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen as he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in the air moments after his team upset the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.
Elway, like Dan Marino, had been a member of the dubious list of great quarterbacks who hadn’t won the big one by the time that 1997 season rolled around. But this victory sprung him, and those who hold Elway in higher esteem than Marino continue to laud his two Super Bowl wins.
But it wasn’t about Elway, but rather an unheralded sixth-round pick who became one of the dominant running backs of his era — Terrell Davis. If not for Davis, Elway and Marino would be sitting at the counter of the NFL’s version of “Nighthawks”.
What’s sad is this fact seems to be disregarded the further we get from it. Davis isn’t a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and that’s a joke. Davis didn’t have the longevity of a guy like Jerome Bettis, but his impact was much greater.
Bettis hung around the NFL as a short-yardage specialist during the twilight of his career, and his fumble against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2005 AFC playoffs nearly cost the Steelers a trip to the Super Bowl.
Davis was dominant during his brief time with the Broncos — his best season coming in the follow-up to Super Bowl XXXII, leading the league with 2008 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 1998 to lead Denver (and Elway) to its second Super Bowl win.
Maybe this one should have been for Terrell.
You can catch Rank from the Super Bowl on NFL.com Live Wednesday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter @adamrank.