Class of 2011
By Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post
Meet Jason Elam, Renaissance man.
He’s traveled throughout the world, piloted his own plane on Christian missionary trips into the Alaskan outback, and coauthored four books of fiction featuring terrorist fighter Riley Covington.
Elam and his wife, Tamy, keep busy raising a family of five: J.J., Jordan, Juliana, Joshua and Jackson. They now make their home in Soldotna, a small city on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.“Jason is so creative and impulsive and exciting. I think that anything he wants to achieve, he’ll do it,” Tamy once said about her husband.
But upon his induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Elam, at age 41, achieves something even he never dreamed about.“I really couldn’t believe it when I was first told about this,” Elam said. “I mean, it’s such
a huge honor. I looked at the other inductees and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s an elite group.’ To be part of this is amazing.”
Like most Denver Broncos fans, Tamy first knew Elam as the team’s place-kicker. She was a Broncos cheerleader from 1993-97. He was the team’s popular place-kicker from 1993-2007. Their storybook romance continues today.
Broncos fans had their own reasons for falling for Elam. His cool demeanor and powerful right leg were essential elements in 152 Broncos victories and two Super Bowl championships. Elam retired as the Broncos’ all-time leading scorer with 1,786 points after playing in 236 games, more than any other player in team history.
He spent 15 seasons with the Broncos and another two with the Atlanta Falcons. When he retired after the 2009 season, he ranked fifth in NFL history in career field goals made (436) and sixth in career scoring (1,983 points).
He made 436 of 540 field goals, a remarkable 80.7 percent, with 673 extra points converted — a nearly perfect 99.4 percent.
Images of Elam in his No. 1 jersey are an indelible part of the Broncos’ history.
There is Elam drilling a 51-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXXII as the Broncos upset the Green Bay Packers to win their first championship.
There is Elam in the 1998 season, running down the field at the old Mile High Stadium, pumping his fist after nailing his record-tying 63-yarder vs. Jacksonville.
There is Elam, consistent as a Swiss timepiece, drilling another game-winning field goal. All told, Elam made 26 game-winning or game-saving field goals in his career.
Last spring, when Elam signed a one-day contract so he could officially retire as a Bronco, owner Pat Bowlen promised that Elam will join the Ring of Fame when he’s eligible for induction in 2015.
“Jason was everything you want in a player, everything you’d want in a kicker,” Bowlen said that day, adding that Elam deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Whether or not Elam ever gets into Canton’s hallowed halls is a moot point... because, tonight, the Renaissance man who was so much more than “just a kicker” takes his place of honor in Colorado sports history.