Tim Tebow, John Elway on trading card
Legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has appeared on 5,182 football cards since his landmark Topps rookie arrived in 1984. But it's three cards that came out just last week -- 26 years later -- that have football collectors buzzing.
They're the ones from 2010 Topps that Elway shares with Tim Tebow.
Dubbed "Gridiron Lineage," the star-studded pieces of cardboard successfully pair Elway, once the most scrutinized human being in the Rocky Mountains, with Tebow, currently the most scrutinized human being in the Rocky Mountains.
And the pairing is perfectly fine with Elway, the two-time Super Bowl champion, NFL Hall of Famer and unofficial king of the mountains in Colorado.
"I actually saw the card and I'm happy to share it with him," Elway said Monday morning, a day after Tebow threw his first NFL touchdown pass in a preseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Tim is just starting his career but I like what he's about so I'm honored to share a card with him. Hopefully that card becomes very valuable in the future and he goes on and has a great career."
There actually are three versions of the card, including one embedded with pieces of jersey worn by each player and one that includes both of their autographs. A copy of the double-signed version sold online last week for more than $256.
Elway's is an opinion held in the highest regard when it comes to the quarterback job in Denver and he's gone on record plenty this summer pledging his support for Tebow. He reiterated that stance Monday.
"The type of person he is and the football career that he had at Florida is the reason why he's getting all the attention," Elway said. "Everyone's curious about how he's going to do in the NFL.
"I'm going to be rooting for him and hopefully it works out for him. He's in a good spot in Denver. I'm glad for the Bronco fans that they're going to get a good opportunity to watch this kid grow."
Largely because they got to watch Elway himself grow, those fans tend to be kind of spoiled when it comes to quarterback play. During his 16 seasons in Denver, Elway passed for 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns while leading the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances, including back-to-back victories in XXXII and XXXIII. Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, 20 years after the arrival of his still-coveted Topps Rookie Card.
"That's a long time ago but, obviously, when you're a collector before that, having your own card is one of those things that you can't believe," Elway said. "You're in the NFL and you can't believe you have your own card now. Remembering back and thinking about it, obviously it was a great thrill."
As for Elway's new trading-card bunkmate, Tebow already has appeared on 133 NFL trading cards this summer, including 30 in the new 2010 Topps set.
Tracy Hackler is the editorial director of Beckett Media. Check out Beckett.com -- and be sure to get the latest news on sports cards and memorabilia at the Beckett blog. You can also follow him on Twitter.