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Mile High Morning: John Elway is No. 15 on The Athletic's rankings of best NFL players of all time


The Lead

Broncos legend, Super Bowl MVP, back-to-back Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has finally appeared on The Athletic's list of the top 100 NFL players of all time.

"There are dozens of reasons Elway landed here, at No. 15 on The Athletic's list of the Top 100 players," The Athletic's Lindsay Jones wrote. "He had unrivaled arm strength, impressive athleticism and an insane level of competitiveness that carried the Broncos to five AFC championships. He likely would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer even without a Super Bowl ring."

The Athletic focuses on a single play from Elway's illustrious career, a play that set him apart and "catapulted Elway into a different quarterback stratosphere"  — The Helicopter. It's the play that turned the tide in Denver's first-ever Super Bowl championship and helped to cement Elway as a future Hall of Fame QB.

"Elway's Super Bowl heartache was over, as team owner Pat Bowlen handed him the Lombardi Trophy and said the four most memorable words in franchise history: 'This one's for John,'" Jones wrote.

Elway's spot here among the top 15 greatest NFL players of all time is well-deserved, and his impact on the Denver Broncos organization, the quarterback position and the NFL at large cannot be overstated.

"He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 after what longtime Denver sportswriter Woody Paige likes to describe as the shortest presentation in the history of the selection committee," Jones wrote. "It was just five words: "Ladies and gentlemen, John Elway."

Below the Fold

Newly named starting QB Teddy Bridgewater has landed nearthe top of the leagueinQB passer ratings thanks to his standout performances in the Broncos' first two preseason matchups.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bridgewater boasts a passer rating of 141.0 — the second-highest rating in the league through the first two weeks of the preseason.

Bridgewater's first two matchups were near-perfect statistically, as he completed 7-of-8 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota and 9-of-11 for 105 yards and one score against Seattle. Bridgewater also remains turnover-free through Week 2 of the preseason.

Bridgewater's impressive start has also earned him the third-highest grade for a QB from Pro Football Focus through the preseason so far, at 83.4 overall.

Bridgewater will have the opportunity to continue that streak this Saturday, in his first start as the official QB1 for Denver, as the Broncos host the Rams at Empower Field at Mile High.

The Unclassifieds

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