Thursday, January 22, 2009

John Elway's Introduction at Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Jessie Elway's Speech Introducing her Father at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Aug. 8, 2004
Thank you, Mr. (Chris) Berman; thanks, everyone.
It is a tremendous honor to be with you today to represent my family, my brother, Jack, my two sisters Jordan and Juju at such a special time in my dad's life.
As you might suspect, growing up with the last name Elway made for some pretty interesting questions. The most common one we get is, "What's the coolest part of having John Elway as a dad?" "That's easy," we always respond. "We're too young to remember the first three Super Bowls."
My dad would be looked at differently today if he had not won two Super Bowls, but it wouldn't have mattered to my brother and sisters and me. When we look at my dad, we see a different man than everyone else sees. We see Jack's coach. We see a dad who used to be able to beat his daughter - used to, I said - at one-on-one in the driveway. And we see a son who desperately misses his father and sister, never more than today. We called my grandpa "Poppy," and we all wish he could be with us. Dad, this the greatest honor of my life that you have chosen me to speak for him.
Some of our most vivid memories came from Mile High Stadium. But they didn't have anything to do with football. We spent more time watching my dad on the sideline, waiting for him to wave up at us, than we did watching the game. And sure enough, he always did. Looking back, those are some of my most treasured moments. Just because he played quarterback for the Broncos didn't mean we had to cut him any slack. Whenever we see him on ESPN Classic, we always tease him about his goofy haircuts. When he got a big knot in his arm after tearing his bicep we'd say, "Come on, Dad, show us your Popeye." And when he got into his late 30s, we'd tell him, "Dad, you're too old to be calling everyone 'Dude."'
As proud as we are of my dad, we'd be just as proud if he had not made the Hall of Fame. I can't tell you how much he has taught us about life. He has taught us to be leaders, to set goals, to dream and to never, ever, ever make excuses. Above all, he has taught us to be tough. No one knows more than his children how tough my dad is, how competitive he is, how badly he wanted to win those Super Bowls.
We saw the black-and-blue marks at the kitchen table. We saw the bruises on his arms, the cuts on his fingers and the scrapes on his elbows. Whenever one of us kids would ask him about it, he'd just smile and say, "Oh, it's OK." He had 12 surgeries during his career. With all those aches and pains, he didn't exactly have a lot of sympathy when one of us kids came crying. I remember one time, I stubbed my toe, and he said sarcastically, "Uh-oh, better go call 911." It was a funny moment until my little sister Juju called 911.
As long as I'm telling you family secrets, let me tell you another one. After the Broncos won their first Super Bowl, I asked my dad to quit. I told him I wanted him to be happy, to go out on top. But he wouldn't do it. Dad, let me tell you something I've never told you before, and I'll probably never tell you again. Thanks for not listening to me. Dad, I love you and I'm so proud of you.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride I introduce to you now, my dad, John Elway.

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