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Morning Briefing

As a Rookie, Elway Wasn't So Confident

January 12, 1987

When he joined the Denver Broncos, more than one expert predicted he'd be the greatest ever, but John Elway admits there was a time he wondered if he could make a living in the game.

"I had never had adversity before," Elway said. "Everything came quickly for me from high school to college. I'm at a point now where I want to be, but it's all come along slower than I thought it would."

He said he lost confidence as a rookie.

"I started doubting I could ever play in this league," he said. "This is really the first year I realize how much my confidence was shaken that rookie season. It wasn't fun."

It wasn't helped by Dan Marino's spectacular start with Miami.

"No question life would have been easier without Dan," Elway said. "As a rookie, he did unbelievable things, things young quarterbacks aren't supposed to do. What made it tough is that because he was picked last on the first round, everybody else was supposed to measure up."

On Sunday, Elway measured up. Said Denver receiver Steve Watson of the game-tying 98-yard drive: "He came into the huddle as cool as a cucumber. I've never seen him like that. He smiled at us and said, 'Let's go.' "

It was a weekend of tandems, with both Elways emerging victorious. Father Jack coached the West to victory in the Shrine game. Others:

--While USC safety Tim McDonald was being named defensive player of the game in the Shrine game, USC cornerback Louis Brock was being named defensive player of the game in the Hula Bowl.

--While Indiana transfer Delray Brooks was scoring a career-high 34 points for Providence, Indiana transfer Mike Giomi was scoring a career-high 24 points for North Carolina State.

Trivia Time: Frank Pearlstein of Sherman Oaks asks this one: "The last teams to repeat as champions in the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NBA Final all took what common path to their second titles?" (Answer below.)

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: Darren Daye of the Boston Celtics told Peter May of the Hartford Courant his days under Larry Farmer at UCLA are ones he'd like to forget.

Daye: "I really don't want to say too much about the man, but he couldn't coach. We had only two plays on offense, one for a zone and one for a man-to-man."

Farmer currently is the head coach at Weber State, which is 2-12.

Add May: He wrote: "Before the Celtics' game in Sacramento, Danny Ainge reminded the team of how badly they had played in Arco Arena the year before. Was Kevin McHale stirred by Ainge's speech? 'Are you kidding? I never listen to Danny. That's the key to my success in life.' "

The Prophet: The man taking all the bows today is Paul Zimmerman, pro football writer for Sports Illustrated. In the magazine's special football edition in September, the man they call Dr. Z picked Denver in the AFC and the New York Giants in the NFC. Of his top 13 picks, 10 made the playoffs. The only misses were Dallas, Miami and the Raiders.

Note: In the Super Bowl, he picked the Giants.

Trivia Answer: All beat teams from Los Angeles. The new York Yankees beat the Dodgers in 1978; the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Rams in 1980; the Boston Celtics beat the Lakers in 1968-69.


Chris Washburn of the Golden State Warriors, saying he made a mistake in leaving North Carolina State early to join the NBA: "When you have to come out and have to practice, it takes the fun out of basketball. It's more like a job."

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