the only reason denver was ever competitive, the only reason they ever made a super bowl (since we're talking his early career), was because of elway. the offense he played on was pathetic. in most of the early years, denver boasted no pro bowl players on offense (only 1 (winder, twice) prior to 1990, coincidentally the only years john played with a good running back), had completely mediocre to bad skill position players and a subpar offensive line. it wasn't until the 90's, post-reeves, that the team finally had some other talent. reeves offense was never conducive to stat-whoring, and was downright pathetic in most years. he spent several years actively trying to replace elway (e.g. tommy maddox) at a cost to the team itself. it wasn't until shannon sharpe in 1992 that elway had a receiver who would've started for any other team in the league.
then again, the only people who call elway overrated are terry bradshaw (the most overrated qb in nfl history... ok, maybe second to namath) and people who never saw elway play in the 80's and early 90's and assume that he only played from 1995 on.