In our Broncos Legends series, we're revisiting the careers of some of the best players in franchise history with video highlights and rarely seen photos — and they'll join us to break down their favorite moments as a Bronco and more. Here's a refresher on place-kicker Jason Elam's time in Denver.
Before joining the Broncos as a third-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, Elam had a storied collegiate career at the University of Hawaii. Over his four years there, Elam made 79 field goals, which was three short of what was then the NCAA record.
As a rookie, Elam hit on 74.3 percent of his field-goal attempts, including four of his six tries from 50 yards or longer. That earned him NFL All-Rookie honors from several outlets, including Pro Football Weekly, Pro Football Writers of America and more.
A year later, Elam improved his season percentage to 81.1, and he didn't miss any of his 22 field-goal attempts from under 40 yards. That year, he also proved his mettle with his first NFL game-winning field goal, a 34-yarder in overtime against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
That kind of heroics foreshadowed the kind of play the Broncos would get from their kicker for more than a decade.
During his 15 years with the Broncos, Elam rewrote franchise record books in a number of categories, including career games played, points scored and field goals made. In 1998, he also tied what was then an NFL record for longest field goal with a 63-yarder.
Elam was a three-time Pro Bowler and a three-time second-team All-Pro, and most importantly, he was a reliable piece of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He was also a clutch kicker, as he recorded 24 game-winning or game-saving field goals for the Broncos. By the end of his time in Denver, he ranked second in NFL history in 50-yard field-goals.
After his 15th season with the Broncos, Elam joined the Falcons as a free agent. He spent two seasons in Atlanta before signing a one-day contract with Denver in 2010 so he could retire as a Bronco.
Two Super Bowl victories (XXXII, XXXIII), three Pro Bowls, three second-team All-Pro selections, Broncos Ring of Fame inductee (2016), first-team Broncos 50th Anniversary Team selection, Broncos Top 100 Team selection, 1993 NFL All-Rookie Team selection, Nov. 2001 AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, five AFC Special Teams Player of the Week selections, most points scored in franchise history, most made field goals in franchise history, most made field goals in a single season in franchise history
Stats to know
Regular-season Broncos stats: 236 games, 1,786 points scored, 395 made field goals, 80.6 field-goal percentage, 236 consecutive games scoring, 18 consecutive games with a field goal, a career long field goal of 63 yards
Postseason Broncos stats: 14 games, 84 points scored, 15 made field goals, 83.3 field-goal percentage
In his own words
"I know the kind [of kicker] I wanted to be. I wanted to be a good teammate, number one. I wanted to be a guy that not just on the field, but off the field, that they could count on me and I was a good friend. I wanted, on the field, for them to trust me. ... And it made me feel great when they were already celebrating before a game-winner was even kicked. That was something that always made me feel great, that I had earned their trust, that they believed in me. I think that was probably the most important thing to me, is that I wanted the trust of my teammates."
Three games to remember
Week 9, 1997 season: Broncos 23, Bills 20
The day before this game, Elam probably couldn't envision that he'd even make it Buffalo, much less be the game's hero. On that Saturday, a blizzard engulfed the Denver area and stranded him on the side of the road for five hours until a group of fans rescued him and took him to the team's travel party. After an eight-and-a-half-hour delay, the team plane finally departed Denver, and the Broncos arrived in Buffalo 13 hours before kickoff. The Broncos still managed to build a 20-0 lead through the first three quarters, but Buffalo stormed back to tie the game. In overtime, Elam ended the game when he hit a 33-yard field goal, his third of the game.
"It was a fun closure to a crazy weekend," Elam said after the game. "It's definitely something I won't forget for a very long time."
Week 8, 1998 season: Broncos 37, Jaguars 24
Elam had proved himself worthy of a lengthy career with the Broncos in his first four seasons, but he etched his name into NFL and team record books on this day in 1998. With a minute left before halftime, the Broncos moved across midfield, but as they stalled at the Jacksonville 40-yard line, Elam prepared for a 58-yard attempt. But amid some confusion, the Broncos took a delay-of-game penalty and Elam attempted a 63-yarder instead. The kick just cleared the crossbar, tying a distance record set in 1970 by Tom Dempsey.
"I was watching it and gave a big cheer when it went through," Dempsey later said. "It was a great kick, a great effort. You have to admire it."
Week 15, 2003 season: Broncos 23, Browns 20
With three field goals, including one from 51 yards, Elam ensured the final home game of Shannon Sharpe's career would be a win. First, he split the uprights with six seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Then he made a 25-yard chip shot to win the game. The effort, which pushed the Broncos to 9-5 on the season, also earned Elam AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Flip through photos from Jason Elam's Ring of Fame Broncos career, including his then NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal and much more.