Five times Elway was asked on which play he felt the momentum shift. "The second quarter," he would quip, laughing louder each time.
The second quarter was anything but funny. It began with the Broncos ahead 10-0, but Elway completed only one of his first nine passes. As a result, Washington got back into the game with two quick touchdowns. "I wasn't concerned with how many passes I missed," Elway explained. "I was just looking for what I could do next.
"Good chucks were thrown on our receivers at the line. That knocked their timing off. I could only wait so long for them to get open. The Redskins just pinned their ears back and, before I knew it, they were right on top of me."
Elway, 27, has now quarterbacked Denver to two consecutive Super Bowl losses. Each time, he led the Broncos to an early lead and later had the opportunity to rally his team from behind. Both times the games got out of hand.
Elway believes that to be considered a truly great quarterback he must win the Big Game. "That's on my mind," he said softly in response to a question on the subject. Then he finally lost a bit of his composure: "But I also know a lot of quarterbacks never get to the Super Bowl. In my career, the ultimate is to win this game. That's my ultimate goal. I will not have a good feeling about myself until I win one."