"Today is an exciting day for Stanford football, and you can't talk about Stanford football without talking about John Elway," Stanford coach David Shaw said in an official release. "Like Frankie Albert and Jim Plunkett before him, John's Elway's greatness set the standard for quarterback play for a generation of athletes."
At this point, only two players in Stanford history have had their jersey retired. Elway, now executive vice president of the Denver Bronos, joins Ernie Nevers (No. 1) and Jim Plunkett (No. 16) as the third player to share that honor.
"I am extremely humbled that Stanford has chosen to recognize me in this very special way,” Elway said. "It's a tremendous honor to join Cardinal legends Ernie Nevers and Jim Plunkett with this distinction.
"Being a student-athlete at Stanford and earning my degree from the school are two things I take the utmost pride in accomplishing. Without question, my four years at Stanford played an integral role in who I am and any success I've had. In particular, my teammates and coaches deserve so much credit for making me better, both on and off the field."
Elway was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year (1980, 1982) and finished second to Herschel Walker in the 1982 Heisman Trophy voting. He completed over 62 percent of his passes and threw 77 touchdowns during his four-year career and still owns Stanford's single-game record with six touchdown passes in a game.
"Through the years the No. 7 has meant so much to the Stanford community, most recently with the record-breaking career of Toby Gerhart," David Shaw said. "Current student-athletes Ty Montgomery and Aziz Shittu both will wear the No. 7 jersey and be the last two to put it on for Stanford University."
That distinction has not escaped Shittu. The sophomore defensive end discussed the honor on Twitter after the announcement on Tuesday.
Wow I'm going to be the last player in Stanford Football history to wear the #7! Gotta make it something to remember. #JohnElway— Aziz Shittu (@AzizShittu) August 6, 2013
The Stanford-Oregon was already one of the most anticipated contests on the 2013 regular season schedule. The Ducks (No. 3) and Cardinal (No. 4) both start the season in the Top 5 of the Coaches Poll, and last season's meeting -- a 17-14 overtime win for Stanford -- was one of the best games of the season.
When they meet on Thursday night there will no other headliner on the schedule. All eyes will be on Stanford Stadium to see who will control of the Pac-12 North. Now the school has added to the anticipation with the halftime ceremony for Elway.
Needless to say, Nov. 7 will be a pretty big night for college football.