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Sports

November 20, 2013

Elway: Facing another great turns up pressure

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Due to the quirks of the NFL schedule, John Elway only faced Dan Marino twice over 16 seasons. On those rare occasions, or anytime the Broncos quarterback was facing a Joe Montana or Jim Kelly, he knew he had to bring his game up a notch.

“I think the main reason to get amped is because of the fact that you know you have to play well because the quarterback on the other side is a real good player,” Elway said Tuesday.

It’s the sort of perspective the ex-quarterback feels free to offer now that he’s part of Denver’s management, not preparing for another big game the way Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are this week.

The two premier quarterbacks of their era square off for the 14th time Sunday when Denver travels to New England. Brady leads the series 9-4.

Elway, of course, engineered the deal that put Manning in a Broncos uniform for the 13th installment last year and this year’s rematch. Almost every one of the showdowns has had something significant riding on it — the Patriots have been to five Super Bowls in the Brady era, while Manning went twice in Indianapolis and is trying to get back with the Broncos.

Elway only faced Marino twice and lost both times.

Their first meeting came in 1985, when both players were in their third year. The Dolphins won 30-26 in Denver. It figured they’d meet many times again over the years, but in an era when the NFL scheduling formula didn’t guarantee at least one game between every team every three or four years, it didn’t happen again until 1998.

“Amazing how the schedule fell back then,” Elway said.

Elway fared better against Montana. He went 3-3, though the two most memorable meetings both went Montana’s way: San Francisco’s 55-10 Super Bowl drubbing of the Broncos in 1990 and Kansas City’s 31-28 win in a classic Monday nighter in 1994, when Montana rallied the Chiefs to a last-second touchdown.

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