Reported by: JEFFRI CHADIHA, BILL WILLIAMSON and LARRY GRAHAM

Of all the things John Elway could have done to immortalize himself in Super Bowl history, nobody ever would have predicted a mere 8-yard run as his defining moment. He'd produced longer gains with his nifty mobility during 16 NFL seasons. He'd frustrated countless defenders with his high-powered arm. Yet when people examine the third-down scramble Elway produced in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXII -- a play that ended with him spun around so violently after being tackled that it is forever known as "The Helicopter" -- they surely believe it exemplified his personality. It was a rugged charge by an over-the-hill leader, a quarterback hell-bent on doing whatever it took to win a championship. In gaining that first down, Elway both propelled his team to an upset win and reminded observers of what made him so great in the first place. It wasn't his arm and it wasn't his legs. Ultimately, as people who knew him best would attest, it was his will.

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Elway, shown diving for a crucial first down in Super Bowl XXXII,

said, "It's certainly my favorite play ever."

Photo: Sporting News/Getty Images