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Mile High Morning: The best moments from John Elway's trip down memory lane with Peyton Manning


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From Broncos fans who want to move on from Sunday's loss to Kansas City, you can now get a dose of much-needed delightful nostalgia as ESPN released the newest episode of "Peyton's Places," which featured John Elway.

For those who haven't heard of the series, "Peyton's Places" is a tour through football history with Peyton Manning as our guide. The show is available exclusively on ESPN+ and is now two episodes into its second season.

In this episode, the two former Broncos quarterbacks visit Empower Field at Mile High to reminisce on their time in Denver and to hear Elway relive his stories from a life in football.

Here is just a small collection of my favorite parts from the episode:

Elway originally wanted to play running back

Before he was the man with the golden arm, Elway envisioned himself as a running back. He played the position when he was young, but when the time came for him to try out for his high school team, his dad encouraged a position change.

"The first part of my life, I really thought quarterback was pretty darn boring," Elway said. "So I got to the ninth grade and I was going out for football, and my dad was taking me to school that day. And he goes, 'What position are you going to play?' I said, 'I'm going to go out for running back.' So the car goes into park, and 15 minutes later I get out of the car and I'm a quarterback."

Recreating the 'Elway Cross'

Call it Peyton Manning's Mythbusters. For this occasion, he brought out one of those ballistics gel dummies for an experiment that only Elway could help with — performing the "Elway Cross." That's the name of a phenomenon that became maybe something of an urban legend during his time in Denver, as Elway's rocket arm could imprint the nose of a football on receivers' chests.

"It's not my fault that they get a tattoo," Elway said. "They've got to catch it in their hands!"

Revisiting The Drive and The Helicopter

Perhaps the coolest part of the whole episode is when Manning and Elway break down a signature moment in NFL history as they watch tape of "The Drive" from the 1986 AFC Championship Game against Cleveland.

But one of the best sound bites comes later, when Elway talks about one of the final lasting memories he made in his career, an acrobatic play known as "The Helicopter."

"I turned it up and I figured, OK, I know they think I'm going down. I said, All right, I'm going to put this 6-inch vertical on 'em and go right over the top."

Manning and Marvin Harrison recreated The Drive during pregame warmups

It wasn't just you and your sibling in your backyard; even Manning pretended to be Elway dropping back to throw the game-tying touchdown in Cleveland.

"In 1999, we played in Cleveland for the first time," Manning said. "I wanted to reenact The Drive, so me and Marvin Harrison went out there before the game and went and found the exact yard line, took the backpedal drop, threw this sidearm slant in there."

Elway once sold his pool table because Bubby Brister beat him on it

As an example of Elway's competitive nature, Manning tells him that he heard a rumor that Elway couldn't bear to keep his pool table after losing to former teammate Bubby Brister.

"He did beat me, and that was the first time I had lost on my pool table," Elway explained. "I didn't want to lie. I wanted to be able to say I hadn't lost on my pool table, so I did get rid of that one and get a new one — and never played Bubby again, though."

Manning could have worn No. 7 in Denver if he wanted to

When Manning came to Denver in 2012, he received permission from Ring of Fame quarterback Frank Tripucka to wear No. 18, which was retired. But what if he had wanted to wear No. 7, he wondered aloud to Elway.

"You would have had No. 7," Elway. "Heck yeah. We'd have shared that No. 7."

Take an exclusive look at how Peyton Manning's episode of "Peyton's Places" with John Elway came was produced earlier this year.

Below the Fold

The Broncos' 22-16 loss to the Chiefs will sting, but the fight they showed was impressive nonetheless, as's Grant Gordon writes. "This isn't a league in which silver linings are smiled upon, of course, but against the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Broncos brought the effort, the defense looked solid and Drew Lock had his moments," Gordon wrote.

In the loss, the Broncos faltered in key moments, but the game largely was what they wanted, ESPN's Jeff Legwold writes. "The Broncos forced the Chiefs to kick field goals instead of score touchdowns, frustrated Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, pounded out the rushing yards -- 179 in all -- and hung around," Legwold wrote.

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