“Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.”

– Lou Holtz

It actually took John Elway a few Super Bowl trips to get the combination right, to be fair. It took Mr. Bronco until his fourth (and fifth) tries to win the damned thing, but when he did, he did it in rather grand style. You’ve heard of helicopter parents, but helicopter quarterbacks?

After John completed his degree in 360, he pointed himself towards the first of three Super Bowl rings he’d be a part of bringing to Denver. Even when he wasn’t throwing the ball, he found a guy who could do a pretty solid job of it himself in Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

But was Elway more the architect of those rings when he was steering the offense or the entire organization? Both required meticulous focus, planning, execution, and a healthy dash of luck. Moving up to the head office may have taken less time in the weight room, but that was surely supplanted by an insane amount of sleepless nights. With the Broncos organization now having moved a few steps further down the road in terms of ownership and leadership, let’s hope that John’s continued presence with the organization still has the weight and consideration he’s surely earned.

When Super Joe Sakic came to town, he didn’t end up needing those first few practice runs at a championship that Elway had taken. Joe was ready. Right. Damned. Now.

What did take Sakic a wee bit longer was that second ring. Elway stacked his back-to-back championships in between the two of Sakic’s Stanleys. Joe more than made up for it by wrapping up Part II with one of the most memorable moments in sports history.

Friggin’ makes me cry every time.

Oh, and as you may or may not have heard a few thousand times by now, the Colorado Avalanche just rung up another Stanley Cup in rather dominating fashion, and Mr. Sakic has joined Mr. Elway in being the rare human being to bring a championship to his club in more ways than one. True to his pattern, Joe still only needed one trip to ring that bell.

Ever the class act, that guy. And quite possibly the architect of the next Championship to come to Colorado as well, though the Broncos and even Nuggets might like to be a part of that conversation. Who knows? Maybe Denver will be the first city to ever hang up three in the same year.

The last time the Avalanche brought a long-awaited championship to Denver, it was the start of four in six years for the city and state. Sakic still has his fingerprints all over these Avalanche, and Elway is still happily tied to the Broncos. Because the data right now is pretty plain, looking at the very limited sample set.

If you want to win a championship in Colorado in anything except soccer, Mr Elway or Mr. Sakic better be involved. It’s a happy occasion to know they are both still around.

Welcome to the club, Super Joe. Not many who could do what you did, and the accolades are richly deserved.

Author

Mike Olson is a weekly columnist for DNVR. The Colorado State University alum was born and raised in Fort Collins and has been writing about Denver sports for the last eight years. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he has an unhealthy addiction to In-n-Out Burgers and a healthy aversion to the Lakers.

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