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Stanford to retire John Elway's number

August 07, 2013|By Chris Dufresne
  • John Elway's No. 7 jersey will be retired by Stanford on Nov. 7 at halftime when the Cardinal faces the Oregon Ducks.
John Elway's No. 7 jersey will be retired by Stanford on Nov. 7 at halftime… (Paul Sakuma / Associated…)

How can a quarterback who never led his college team to a bowl game have his number retired?

It's easy when the school is Stanford and the quarterback is John Elway.

What's more, Stanford fans would tell you, Elway would have led Stanford to a bowl in 1982 if not for the outrageous injustice suffered in that year's game against Cal.

You may remember The Play. ("The band is out on the field!")

It's actually surprising that Stanford has waited this long to retire Elway's No. 7 jersey. It will be the third number retired along with Ernie Nevers (No. 1) and Jim Plunket (No. 16).

Stanford is also smart in using halftime of the Nov. 7 home game against Oregon to honor Elway. That game could decide the Pac-12 North Division and will be one of the nation's featured games that week.

Elway, simply, was a transformative college quarterback who didn't have half the talent surrounding him that Stanford quarterbacks have now.

A one-man show who threw for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns at Stanford, Elway still holds the school's single-game record of six touchdown passes against Oregon State in 1980.

He went on to win two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos and is now executive vice president of the NFL franchise.


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