John Elway is returning to a land he once called home -- at least when speaking about football -- as the Denver Broncos get ready to take on the Carolina Panthers on Feb. 7 for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.
It's a walk down memory lane for Elway, who after coming out of high school went to Stanford to play football. A legend was soon born, and Elway calls his decision to play for Stanford -- and not for San Jose State, where his father, Jack, coached -- "the best decision he ever made."
Michael Dotterer played college football and baseball with Elway. He was even part of John's first Sports Illustrated cover. No. 7 made an impression during their first practice together.
“I have this feeling that when he played, he wouldn't want the game to get too far out of hand because the fans would leave. I don't know if that was a conscious thing but the games were always close and exciting,” he told Denver7’s Arran Andersen.
More than 30 years later, Elway remains a mythical character. In December, the Pac 12 named him their offensive player of the Century. Stanford historian Jim Rudder says that honor was well deserved
"You talk about athletes being admired. Respected. With John it was almost a deification, it was a reverence. I recall it was the first time seeing fans bow down in worship to John. He was normal guy. Never know it. There was a reverence reserved for a very special caliber of athlete. It’s almost that level of he was a sports god,” he said.
Watch Arran’s full story on Elway’s return to California above.