On this day in Broncos history: Denver trades for QB John Elway in 1983

The Denver Broncos made the most important move in franchise history on May 2, 1983, when they finalized a trade with the Baltimore Colts to acquire quarterback John Elway.

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Before the draft, Elway had informed the Colts he would not play for them, but the team picked him anyway after failing to trade the No. 1 overall pick before going on the clock. A few days later, they reached an agreement with the Broncos on a trade that sent Elway to Denver.

“If it was football with the Colts or baseball with the Yankees, I would have picked baseball,” Elway said during a 1983 interview.

The Broncos traded offensive tackle Chris Hinton (their first-round pick in 1983), quarterback Mark Herrmann and a 1984 first-round pick (guard Ron Solt) in exchange for Elway. The rest is history.

The Colts went 13 years before winning a playoff game. Denver went on to reach five Super Bowls with Elway as quarterback, winning back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998 before Elway retired.


Elway later returned to the Broncos as an executive in 2011 and he helped the team win a third Super Bowl in 2015. Elway is the most important figure in franchise history, and he was acquired on this day 40 years ago.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire