My favorite athlete is John Elway, because the Denver Broncos have been my favorite team since I first understood why my father shouted at the television on fall Sundays. When Elway came to Denver, everything changed. He personified hope. We really COULD win it all. It took many years to fulfill that, but there were so many thrills along the way. The jaw-dropping javelin throws deep downfield. The fearless bullets into tight coverage. The impossible comebacks (sorry, Cleveland). The helicopter scramble against Green Bay. I was out at Churchill Downs one morning Kentucky Derby week when I heard Elway was retiring, after two straight Super Bowl wins. It was the right decision at the right time. But I felt old that day.
-- Pat Forde is Yahoo's national college columnist, a wonderful sportswriter, and a good friend for closing in on a quarter century. He has to be a good friend for me to allow him to publish a bleepin' John Elway tribute on my blog.