Port Angeles will be severing its ties with one of its favorite sons for about four hours Sunday.
While John Elway still is held in esteem as the only person born in Port Angeles to ever play in the Super Bowl, the loyalty of the city’s 19,056 residents will steadfastly belong to the Seahawks in their showdown with the Broncos.
“I’d say our city’s bond with John will be tenuous at best on Sunday night,” said Dwayne Johnson, the athletic director at Port Angeles High School. “It’s going to be full-blown support for the Seahawks on Sunday.”
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Port Angeles, located about 85 miles from Seattle, was the home of Jack and Jan Elway when their son John and twin sister Jana were born on June 28, 1960. Jack was the football coach at Port Angeles High School at the time, but in 1961 he left to become head coach at Grays Harbor College, the first stop in a college coaching career that spanned 27 years.
More than 50 years later, some members of the community still take pride in having Elway as a native son and recall the support for him when he was the quarterback of the Broncos during their Super Bowl championships following the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
“Being the birthplace of John Elway is one of the city’s best claims to fame, and we are proud to have him as one of our own,” said Frank Prince Jr., a former athletic director at Port Angeles High School who has worked in the city’s school system for 40 years. “His father did some great things for us while he was the coach, and we all felt the excitement when John played in the Super Bowl.”
That, though, was then. Now, with the Hall of Fame quarterback working as the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, Elway is on a different side of the ball than the folks in his hometown.
At least there’s the potential for some consolation, unlike the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl appearance after the 2005 season.
“I guess if the Seahawks have to lose it might as well be to Elway and the Broncos,” Johnson said. “It’s better than losing to the Steelers.”