The John Elway Trade (1983 & 1984 NFL Drafts)

I know I recently said I shouldn’t spend so much time on the Broncos. I also know I recently made fun of John Elway for having a horse face and rocking the Justin Bieber hair harder than Tom Brady did in 2010. But unfortunately with all of the parallels between Peyton Manning’s exodus to the Broncos this off-season, I had to address it.

Elway did not want to play for the Colts, who were planning on drafting him in the 1983 draft. He threatened to go pro in baseball instead (he was already playing in the Yankees minor league system during the summer - giving me one more reason to dislike him beyond these commercials), and the spineless Irsays couldn’t handle having their top pick walk away for nothing. So they came up with a trade involving the Broncos.

Indianapolis Received

Denver Received

  • John Elway

With the Broncos’ first round pick in 1984, the Colts drafted Ron Solt.

So, who won? With Elway, the Broncos received a franchise QB who took them to five Super Bowls (winning two in a row to end his career). He put up prolific numbers and was a first ballot Hall of Famer. Say whatever you want about him using the plot from “Major League” as a model for running the Broncos as the GM, but as a player he could sling it with the best of them.

The Colts got two “things.” First, they received one competent player in Hinton. He was a seven time pro-bowl offensive lineman (always great to have). They also got rid of a potential locker room cancer if Elway was bluffing and had no intention of staying in the MLB. The other two were not worth the price.

And, not to get too far off topic, that price was crazy low by today’s standards. If the Redskins had traded for him, the Colts would still be picking for them ten years later. Sorry, but it is true.

So, the winner (without too much debate) was the Broncos. Irsay was lucky to get something out of this at all (as he could have ended up with nothing), but he should have demanded more. Luckily for Elway, him and his equestrian-sized chompers could still serve as the mascot for his new team.

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