John Elway says would’ve rather given Lombardi Trophy to 49ers

Feb 13, 2024, 1:16 PM

Denver Broncos legend John Elway caused quite the stir when he helped present the Kansas City Chiefs with the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVIII.

Elway was an honorary captain, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Broncos winning Super Bowl XXXIII, so it’s not like he had much choice in the matter of who played in the game or who he handed he trophy to.

Still, social media erupted as Elway walked down the middle of the field with the Lombardi Trophy, and Chiefs players getting their hands on it. The visual was strange, with the best Bronco ever giving the hated-rival the most important trophy in sports.

On Tuesday, Elway was on ESPN insider Adam Schefter’s podcast, and discussed the moment. Schefter asked Elway about getting high-fives from the Chiefs while in the Raiders home stadium.

“I didn’t think about being in the Raiders home-field, but you know I was giving it to the Chiefs. I was really hoping for, obviously good friends with Johnny Lynch and Kyle Shanahan,” Elway told Schefter “The Chiefs played great. Especially that second half. I’d much rather have given it to the 49ers, but you know the Chiefs played great.”

That’s definitely an interesting admission from Elway, but he’s simply being honest. Of course he would’ve rather presented the trophy to 49ers GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan with their strong Denver ties. Lynch is in the Broncos Ring of Fame and Shanahan’s father, Mike, was Elway’s coach when he won his two Super Bowls.

Throw in Christian McCaffrey being the son of Elway’s teammate, Ed McCaffrey, and this all would’ve gone a lot smoother if San Francisco hadn’t blown a 10-point lead.

And while Elway would’ve rather given the trophy to the 49ers, he was complimentary of Mahomes to Schefter, saying he’s on his way toward becoming “an all-time great.” It was the third Super Bowl title of Mahomes’ young career.

Overall, Elway told Schefter he was just happy to be part of the experience.

“It was fun to be down there, been a long time since I’d been back down on the field especially at a Super Bowl,” Elway said. “It was great being down there, reminiscing about the feelings of what that game was all about and how much it means to everybody.”

Elway hadn’t been on the field as a player and champion since 1999, but he was there as GM of the Broncos in 2016 after they won Super Bowl 50.

So, it’d been eight years, but for Elway and Broncos Country, that feels like an eternity.


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John Elway says would’ve rather given Lombardi Trophy to 49ers