Local football fans eagerly waiting to find out where John Elway would rate on the NFL Network's list of the 100 greatest players finally have their answer: No. 7 finished at No. 23.
An appropriate spot? Not according to a couple of prominent Broncos bloggers, who are plenty unhappy about Elway's finish.
James Merilatt, writing for Mile High Sports, clearly disagrees with Elway's placement placement, although he displays a measure of objectivity. In his view, "even fans with the most heavily orange-tinted glasses would be hard pressed to argue that Elway belongs ahead of legends like Jim Brown, Dick Butkus and Lawrence Taylor." In his view, "those guys were in a different stratosphere."
He also concedes that an argument can be made for Elway windup up behind quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, John Unitas and maybe even Tom Brady, who finished at 21st on the list. But he objects to him trailing both Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.
About Favre, he writes this:
Elway had just as good of an arm. He was just as good at improvising, making big plays out of broken ones. He was just as good in the waning moments of a game. He was just as tough and durable. And he was just as much of a winner. Plus, he didn't make near as many boneheaded plays as Favre, brain locks that have cost No. 4's teams plenty of games.
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Manning, meanwhile, was blessed with better receiving targets, he believes -- and yet "despite this advantage, Manning still trails No. 7 in total Super Bowls played (five to two) and championships won (two to one), which is the main reason why it's hard to stomach him finishing higher on the list. Perhaps in four or five years the title count will be different for Manning; at that point, he'd have a better case. Because at this point in his career, the Colts quarterback is still somewhat saddled with the label of a guy who can't win the big one even when he's on the better team; that could never be said of Elway, even when he was losing three Super Bowls in four years."
As for Kyle at Bronco Talk, the headline on his take -- "NFL's Top 100 Ranks John Elway 22 Spots Too Low" -- gives a fair representation of its contents. The piece concludes, "John Elway defines greatness in football. Anything less than #1 is just wrong."
So, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus: What do you think about that math?