Before the 1983 draft, Stanford All-American quarterback John Elway publicly stated that if the Baltimore Colts drafted him, he’d probably just quit football and try his hand at baseball. The Colts drafted him anyway, trading him almost immediately to the Denver Broncos, who enjoyed 16 years of Elway’s service, the most by any Bronco.

Despite being sacked a record 516 times in his career, Elway threw for more than 50,000 yards and guided his team to five Super Bowls, the last two of which, Super Bowls XXII and XXIII, went to the Broncos. Elway was named the MVP of that last Super Bowl, which, as it turned out, was the last game of his illustrious career. Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

John Elway began his career in an era when football cards were printed in large numbers, so his 1984 Topps rookie card is in demand, but not nearly as collectible as rookie cards of players who began their careers in the 1970s, ’60s, or ’50s.

Dan Marino’s rookie card was issued the same year, which may be why in 2007, Topps produced a limited edition, autographed card featuring photos and signatures of both Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Signed Riddell John Elway football helmets are popular, as are signed Wilson NFL footballs. And because he played a couple of summers in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees, Elway fans can even collect signed baseballs.

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