It’s not a bad day when John Elway blows up your phone to chat.
I had the opportunity to speak with Elway on Friday. The reason being is he’s promoting the Zero Calorie Pepsi Max Ultimate Fan Contest. The grand prize winner of the contest wins a trip to London to watch the Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers at the NFL International Football Game on October 31st. From now until October 10th, you can submit a photo here, showing why you are the Ultimate NFL fan. The photo must include a bottle or can of Pepsi Max. The winner will get to bring three friends along for this ultimate football experience. As part of the prize, the winner (and friends) will get to have dinner with John Elway the night before the game.
Elway is very excited about the opportunity to promote football overseas and enhance the football experience for a fan from the United States.
During the dining experience with Elway, the contest winner will pave the way in terms of where the conversation goes.
“I would be able to answer their questions on the NFL. I’m not sure where the conversation will go, but I’m sure with them being the Ultimate NFL fan, the conversation would center around the NFL. I would obviously be able to talk about my experiences in the NFL, and try to get them a little closer to the game. It will be a great time for all,” Elway said.
Elway is the face of the quarterback position here in Denver. Every player that comes through is compared to the two-time Super Bowl Champion. Elway says that making the comparison between Kyle Orton and himself is difficult to do.
“We’re a totally different style of quarterbacks. He’s a guy that throws a lot on timing and will drop back whereas I was a guy that moved around a little bit more and took off to run a little bit more.”
Much focus of the Broncos team has been on the quarterback situation. Kyle Orton’s starting position was in question during the off season when the Broncos brought in Brady Quinn, and then drafted Tim Tebow in the first round.
Elway said that a lot of quarterbacks would have given up on competing for the role of starting quarterback based on how the Broncos approached the off season.
“They bring Brady Quinn in, and then they draft Tim Tebow in the first round. I’m impressed with how Kyle has taken that challenge on and got better as a football player.
To many people’s surprise, Orton has stepped his game up to another level this season. He’s the second leading passer in the league right now with 1,078 yards (359.3 yards/game). In 125 passing attempts, he has just 2 interceptions.
“Denver’s QB” has always seen talent in Orton.
“I’ve always thought Kyle was a good quarterback,” Elway said. ”He’s a guy that is a very accurate passer, smart guy, throws the ball well on time. It does not surprise me the steps that he’s made over the last year and a half in this offense.”
For having such a deadly passing game, the Broncos have struggled to get into the end zone.
Elway acknowledges, “I know they [The Broncos] wish they could have more wins than they have, but hopefully they can get the run going and take some pressure off that passing game, especially down in the red zone.”
There’s no question that Kyle Orton is the Broncos’ best quarterback. Brady Quinn has gotten lost in the mix while Tim Tebow has touched the ball just twice in the regular season, both on running plays up the middle for a 1-yard gain.
Tebow has carried much of the Broncos’ spotlight, however. Many fans want to know if he can be successful as a professional football player. Elway thinks he’s got the right ingredients and people need to be patient with his progress.
“I think time will tell. He’s got the intangibles. He’s the guy that wants to work hard, he’s got the size and the speed, and he’s a great team guy that wants to win football games. Whether he fits into the offense or how they mold the offense to him, time will only tell,” Elway stated.
The great news for Tebow is that he can learn behind a quarterback like Orton. He’s not planted on a losing team that needs to rely on a rookie quarterback to get back in gear.
“I think there were no expectations with Tim Tebow coming in here and starting this first year,” Elway said. ”They knew he would take a couple two or three years before he got adjusted. Plus they’ve got a guy in Kyle Orton that at this point in time, Tim can’t beat out, so I think it’ll be interesting to watch Tim’s progress. He’s a guy that’s going to give 110% and do everything that he can to be the best that he can.”
Who said competition within the team is a bad thing?
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