John Elway had to wait more than 30 years, but it was well worth it to gain a measure of revenge for losing to Ron Rivera and his Cal teammates in the 1982 Big Game.
Elway and Rivera faced each other in perhaps the most well-known Big Game of them all, which featured 'The Play,' the famous five-lateral play on which the Bears scored with no time remaining for the crazy 25-20 victory.
Elway was Stanford's star senior quarterback that game and was denied the only winning record of his college career and the possibility of reaching his only bowl game.
And, some believe that loss also cost Elway a possible shot at winning the Heisman Trophy over Herschel Walker of Georgia.
Rivera, meanwhile, was a junior linebacker for Cal.
The tables were finally turned in Elway's favor on Sunday, however, as his Denver Broncos defeated Rivera's Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in the 50th Super Bowl at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
Rivera was Carolina's head coach while Elway was Denver's general manager. The victory made Elway the first person in NFL history to win a Super Bowl as a player and a general manager -- both with the same team.
Since inheriting the 2010 Denver Broncos, which went 4-12 and allowed 6,253 yards 29.4 points/game (both league-highs), Elway has built an elite defense and acquired perhaps the most prized free agent in NFL history in Peyton Manning.
Elway has been responsible for drafting the likes of Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, Virgil Green, Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, Malik Jackson, and Danny Trevathan while snaring undrafted free agents such as All-Pro corner Chris Harris Jr., Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson and Shaquille Barrett.
In free agency, Elway spent $125 million in 2014 alone on DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders, surrounding them with savvy acquisitions such as Evan Mathis, Darian Stewart and Brandon Marshall.
The final piece of the puzzle for Elway was hiring his former Broncos teammate Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose defense ranked tops in the NFL in both pass and overall defense.
"They just kept getting stronger and stronger in the playoffs," Elway told NFL Media's Kimberly Jones. "I couldn't be more proud of them and I'm really happy for them because that's the best defense I've ever seen."