Denver Broncos Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway spoke with Brian Kilmeade about his legendary career, winning his first Super Bowl, how the game has changed since his playing days and dealing with Dupuytren’s Contracture, a potentially disfiguring hand condition.
Go to www.factsonhand.com to find out more about Dupuytren’s Contracture
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: I think that was — that is John Elway’s ringtone. Everybody that calls him, he’s able to — they’re able to hear that play by play. John Elway, I was able to witness 22 Super Bowls, and that stands as my favorite basically because of the storyline of John Elway, at 37-years-old going against the Packers for back-to-back Super Bowls.
Not many people were giving you a shot. But man, you were awesome when you played. But you were — you were determined more than ever to win that game, in my humble opinion. And that was for John — and that was one of the defining plays where you famously were hit so hard, you went into a helicopter.
John Elway joins us now from his executive suite, I imagine, in Denver. Welcome, John.
JOHN ELWAY, GENERAL MANAGER AND PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS, DENVER BRONCOS: Good morning. How are you? That — that is — that’s always good memories to hear that.
KILMEADE: Yes, I mean, you had a lot of them. I’m sure people bring it up to you all the time. And now you’re in a suit instead of playing.
But back then, did you get a different feel going into that game than you did from your other Super Bowls?
ELWAY: Well, you know, we were heavy underdogs again, and obviously the Packers were defending champions. And so we knew we had our hands full and really felt that, even though we had good wideouts and receivers, that they — they had the advantage and the matchup at (ph) the secondary.
So they put an extra defensive lineman down, and so we were hoping that we were able to run the ball and the offensive line. And Terrell Davis had tremendous days, and we were able to run the football and really come out with a victory in our first Super Bowl win against the Packers there.
KILMEADE: And then you go back-to-back. John Elway joins us now. He’s made his name as an executive, but one of the greatest quarterbacks you’ll ever see.
But he also is focused on something else that you’re dealing with in an effort to help other people. John, when did you realize the pain you were experiencing was something that was going to be really tough to deal with?
ELWAY: You know, I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture about 15 years ago. And so at that point in time, the only options were surgical options. And so I didnít do anything at that point in time.
And then as time advanced, there were — they found that you know, there was — it became nonsurgical treatments for this, Dupuytren’s contracture. So it’s a hand condition where your fingers pulled down towards the — the palm of your hand and you can’t put your hand flat on a table.
You know, there’s 16 million people in the United States that have this condition that really are unaware of exactly what it is. And so I’m proud to be part of the campaign. And we’re sending people to factsonhand.com to find out if this condition may be something that they have.
KILMEADE: And so you said 16 million people have it. Does the surgery make the pain go away?
ELWAY: Yes, well, itís not curable but you can fix it to — you can get it to where — you would your hands to where you can get them flat on the table. And so itís really more of a nuisance than anything, and so it’s something that there are different options, and I recommend that, you know, go talk to your hand specialists and visit — as well as visit factsonhand.com to see if this is a condition that you may have.
KILMEADE: So John, there’s so much going on in football and you made this successful transition. You’re president of football operations, general manager for the Broncos. You already have a Super Bowl as an executive underneath your belt.
And it seems like you know, you seem just as determined in the executive world as you were in the professional world. I’m wondering, do you — are you at all a fan — when you look around the league not as a Bronco executive, but just to see what quarterbacks are doing?
ELWAY: Yes, I always am. And I you know, I havenít played the position for a long time. Having been a quarterback, you’re always looking around and looking at the young people coming up.
And I think that’s one great thing is, you know, you look at the NFL and the young quarterbacks that are up and coming that are really going to be, really a lot of fun to watch, very entertaining.
You know, you look Patrick Mahomes, youíve got Watson down in Houston, a lot of young guys that are very talented players that — for old guys like me that played the position — that are very, very fun to watch.
KILMEADE: Daniel Jones is making a lot of news here in New York. He comes off the bench. He looks quite composed. Have you seen any of him with the Giants?
ELWAY: You know, we liked him coming out. I think that Daniel Jones is going to have a tremendous career, you know, in the NFL, and I think that people got a glimpse of it last weekend in the way that he played against Tampa Bay.
And so, I think, you know, with the criticism that the Giants took as well as Daniel Jones took, it was, you know, for someone thatís a fan of football was fun for me to watch him, you know, play as well as he did and have the — you know, come out of the gate the way he did.
KILMEADE: So Iím watching Eli Manning and all the problems the Giants have. I know that heís not the most mobile guy, but I just feel that he has more left. At 37, when you see Eli, do you — and you know Payton so well because you signed him and you won a Super Bowl with him — when you see Eli, do you think he has anything left?
ELWAY: You know, itís hard. I donít do a lot of work on Eli and obviously heís on another team — so, therefore, Iím concentrating about the Denver Broncos, but you never know. You never know different situations and how they are.
But you know, like I said, I have not studied Eli enough to really know where he is in his career, just that heís had a tremendous career up to this point in time.
KILMEADE: Do you see the game — Fran Tarkenton was here about a year ago and he said, man, we used to be able to draw the plays up. I called them on the field. It was simple. And he goes Iím looking at how complicated this game had gotten, how I almost donít recognize it.
You came the next generation after Tarkenton. Has the game gotten more complicated?
ELWAY: Well, I donít know if itís more complicated. I think that what theyíre doing formationally (ph) is a lot more now than we (ph) used to do. And so, I think thereís — you know, a lot of the teams are going to code words rather than calling the whole play out.
But I think with the amount of formation things that people are doing, how theyíre spreading the field, and thereís more things going on in the game. So it may be more complicated just because the amount of, you know, things that people are doing not only on the offensive side, but also on the defensive side.
KILMEADE: With looking at your Broncos this year, what can you expect?
ELWAY: Well, weíve kind of dug ourselves a little bit of a hole in the fact theyíre starting 0-in-3, but I think that weíre still encouraged with what weíve seen the first three weeks. We made way too many mistakes to win a football game.
And so, hopefully we can get those correct to start making some big plays and get on the winning side. But you know, it took us awhile to dig ourselves this hole. Itís going to take awhile for us to get out of this hole, but weíre going to have to take it one game at a time and one practice at a time.
And if we do that, we can still be very, very competitive this year.
KILMEADE: Right. You lost to the Raiders, just lost to the Packers, but this was a different time. I just want to get your thoughts as we replay Super Bowl XXXII. Cut 41.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DICK ENBERG, AMERICAN SPORTSCASTER: With 28 seconds left, Denver takes over inbounds (ph) at the 32. The fans who didnít care about who won this game cared that John Elway got a Super Bowl ring.
You know, after he lost to Jacksonville last year, he went home and his sister called him and he broke down crying. His kids — his four children have never seen their dad cry before. There was the low moment of his great career. This, then, will become the highest moment, the completion of a great career. A Super Bowl championship for John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: So Dick Enberg may be the best. What are your thoughts?
ELWAY: Well, itís — it really is. I tell you what, that was — you know, and just that memory and hearing that still give me, you know, shivers in the fact that, you know, it was something that was my goal my whole life was to be on a world championship team, and we were able to do that against the great Packer team.
So that last snap was the most special snap of my life, knowing that when we kneeled down that we were going to be world championship. So it was — it was worth all the work and everything that we’d been doing previously in my career, to be able to finally get over the hump there.
KILMEADE: Right. And lastly they were — they were saying John Elway was better because he had a running back, but in that game, Terrell Davis was seeing double. Evidently you had some — now, we probably wouldn’t let him finish the game, because he had some type of head injury, right? So, he had to —
ELWAY: Well yes, actually he had — he actually had a migraine right before half time, and so thank God he was able to get rid of that. But, you’re right, I’m not sure he’d seen — these days I’m not sure you can get back on the field, but that kind of shows you what kind of guy Terrell Davis, the toughness that he played with and was able to come out, be the MVP, and really allowed us to run the football, the five hogs (ph) up front for us did a tremendous job too. So, great to be a part of that team.
KILMEADE: And John, lastly, what should everyone know if they have — suffering from Dupuytren’s contracture like you do?
ELWAY: Yes, you can go to factsonhand.com and then — there’s all the information’s there, and if something they may think they have, the condition they may have.
KILMEADE: All right, you following politics at all these days?
ELWAY: A little bit. I try not to. All it does is make me mad so, therefore, I try not to follow it nearly as much. I’ve got to stay focused on the football team.
KILMEADE: All right, do it, that’s the — that’s the world you’re in now. John Elway, thanks so much.
ELWAY: Thanks for having me. Good to talk to you.
KILMEADE: Same here.