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John Elway Endorses Mitt Romney

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Denver Bronco legend and local business owner John Elway endorses Mitt Romney for president. | Getty Images

John Elway just threw Mitt Romney a Hail Mary pass.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Denver Broncos legend threw his support behind the presidential candidate who's been having a tough time of late capturing the adoration of small business owners.

Elway called Romney a "proven leader with the experience and background to turn around our struggling economy," in a statement on Tuesday. "In these tough economic times, we need a president who understands how to get America working again -- by standing on the side of taxpayers and small-business owners who do the real job creating," Elway explained, calling Romney and Paul Ryan the "comeback team" America needs.

The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback is currently executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos, but Elway is also known locally as the owner of several Toyota dealerships, a Chevrolet dealership and two Elway's restaurants in the Denver area. He is also CEO of Elway Home, a home furnishings and accessories brand.

Though the quarterback is beloved by many, it's doubtful that this fourth-quarter play will give Romney much of a boost. The candidate was recently called out for making apparently contradictory statements on the same day regarding his position on small business taxes and trailed Obama in a recent poll of more than 6,000 small business owners, with 39 percent compared to Obama's 47 percent.

In another worrisome sign for Romney, Elway has a losing record in politics. In the previous election cycle, he went 0 for 2, contributing to the campaigns of first Rudy Giuliani and then John McCain.

Two other celebrities endorsed Romney with mixed results -- Chuck Norris, who posted a YouTube video in early September warning that U.S. citizens would face "1,000 years of darkness" if President Obama is reelected, and Clint Eastwood, whose "empty chair" speech at the Republican National Convention went viral.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, National Football League owners, players and staff have contributed more than $1.5 million to politics in 2011-12. Overall, these NFL employees strongly favor Republicans, donating almost three times as much to Republicans as they did to Democrats. Though Sunlight found the actual players have swayed Democrat during this election season, owners are predominantly Republican. For instance, the Bidwell family, owner of the Arizona Cardinals, has contributed more than $230,000 to Republicans, including Romney.

UPDATE: This article was updated to add contribution records of Elway and NFL employees overall.

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