The 20 biggest what-ifs in Denver Broncos history

  • Blockbuster trade for Calvin Johnson?
  • Missing out on Kyle Shanahan
  • Steve Young the Denver Broncos QB?
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11. What if John Elway didn’t play baseball?

Simply put, if John Elway didn't play baseball, he might not have had the leverage to do anything but pout on his plane ride to Baltimore if he really didn't want to play for the Indianapolis Colts.

Fortune dealt the Denver Broncos a great deal of favor with John Elway being a dual-sport athlete, and not just being a dual-sport athlete, but being a good enough baseball player to get picked in the second round by the New York Yankees. If Elway wouldn't have been good enough at baseball, he isn't forcing his way anywhere in a trade.

But that trade has completely defined the entire legacy of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had been competitive at times before Elway came around, but John Elway helped this franchise win three Super Bowls and make it to four additional Super Bowls. He did it as a player and as an executive.

He is the Denver Broncos.

But without leverage, the Broncos held the 4th overall pick in that 1983 NFL Draft, and John Elway was like the Andrew Luck/Trevor Lawrence of his time. The team that had that pick wasn't trading it away. Elway was considered the best QB prospect in a prospect pool that was absolutely loaded at QB. That 1983 NFL Draft was legendary, featuring the likes of Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.

Thank goodness John Elway was good at baseball.