The Broncos had the Michael Jordan of the NFL on their team at one time. A guy that you wanted to have the ball in his hands (or off his foot) when the game was tied with the clock ticking down.
Jason Elam retired yesterday after signing a one day contract with the Broncos. Elam finished his 17 year career with an astonishing field goal percentage (80.7%) and extra point success rate (99.4%). During his 15 seasons in Denver, he saved the Broncos in the fourth quarter or in overtime 24 times. That’s a season and a half worth of games!
You can watch Elam’s retirement press conference here. It’s not a Brett Favre tear fest, but Elam does get somewhat emotional behind the podium. You can tell that Jason Elam loved the game of football when he talks about how he had to adjust his kicking style and preparation as he aged just to keep on playing in the league. He says,
“I started to feel it when I was about 35. I wasn’t as strong, but I felt like I was more accurate. I was able to pull back a little bit, and I was much more of an accurate kicker. I started warming up at 11:30 for a 1:30 practice. I was constantly stretching and trying to keep my body right…”
During Elam’s press conference, the list of “thank you’s” was longer than his NFL record setting 63 yard field goal. He acknowledges that his success wasn’t just about him. It was the coaches, holders, and family that made him a prolific kicker. What a humble guy.
I’ll close this post with a video of one of Elam’s game winning kicks.
Jason Elam will be missed in this league and we were lucky to have #1 on our sidelines for 15 seasons.