Once the Broncos got serious about bringing Manning to Denver, I thought the Broncos had it in the bag. I mean, what quarterback turns John Elway down? Right?
Miami and Tennessee, I felt, didn’t have a chance. So when the San Francisco 49ers decided they would get serious about the past decade’s best quarterback, I immediately became a nervous worrywart.
The 49ers are a team that will be going to the playoffs next year, and they possibly have the best defense in the NFL. While their quarterback Alex Smith sort of reinvented himself last year into a successful quarterback, I think everybody deep in their soul knows that Smith isn’t that good. He’s kind of a scrub, if you know what I mean. So when the 49ers entered the mix for Manning, I thought they would grab him for sure and I half-thought Manning would go there because of last year’s success. I was pissed, and nervous as hell that Manning would go to San Francisco.
I explained this to a guy named Mike – also a diehard Bronco fan – whom I’d just met over a lively game of Foosball and Jameson shots on St. Paddy’s Day. He too was experiencing sleepless nights ever since the 49ers entered the picture.
“This is driving me crazy,” Mike said. “I’ve been Tebowing for Peyton Manning every night before bed.”
That’s one hell of an idea, I thought; maybe I’d better start Tebowing for Manning as well.
So when the news broke mid-morning Monday that the Broncos had won the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes, naturally I thought of Mike. It must have been all of that Tebowing Mike had done that ultimately brought Manning to Denver. Never underestimate the power of a good Tebow. It can do powerful things.
Thank you, Mike, I appreciate your effort.
Manning’s decision to play in Denver next created yet another media frenzy. TV stations cut into Judge Judy to spread the news. Sports radio talking heads began breaking down the Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl next year. Twitter blew up. This is big freaking news in the sporting world, especially in the Rockies. Diehard Bronco fans are finally getting what they wanted: A quarterback that compares to John Elway.
We all know Manning wants to win a Super Bowl as soon as possible. He wants to win another world championship. So when he chose Denver over San Francisco, I think it said a lot about where the Denver Broncos are at, and where they are headed. (By the way, according to a tweet I read yesterday, odds of the Broncos winning the Super Bowl last February were 60-1. After Peyton joined the team, the odds are now 10-1.) No doubt Peyton was impressed with the Broncos’ defense, offensive line, football culture, diehard fans, orange and blue sunsets, and the skiing on the backside of Arapahoe Basin. Peyton saw greatness in Denver, and he took it. I can’t wait to see Peyton wearing orange next year, barking audibles from shotgun.
There are a lot of people questioning the Broncos’ desire for Manning. What if he gets hurt? Can he still even play? What if Peyton Manning isn’t the Peyton Manning we all knew two years ago?
From my standpoint, every quarterback decision is a gamble. The Colts putting all of their eggs into the Andrew Luck No. 1 pick basket is a gamble. Starting Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay every week is a gamble. The point here is that any quarterback, young or old, can get hurt in the National Football League at any time. Every play is a gamble of some sort. Yes, Manning’s previous neck “procedures” are an issue that adds to the gamble of bringing him to the team, but this is Peyton Manning. His previous success is worth the risk, in my eyes and, I guess, worth the risk for the Denver Broncos as well.
Of course, there’s the 10,000-pound elephant in the room we must talk about. What about Tim Tebow? What happens to the guy who brought us so much excitement and joy last season in a season that was all but down the drain? What about Tebowmania? Well, as I write this, no decision on Tebow has been announced on what they plan to do with him, but bringing Manning in pretty much ends Tebow’s career in Denver, for the time being.
Do I think it’s harsh? Yes, just a little. As I have said before, though, this is a business and these things happen. Thanks for the fun last year, Timmy, Peyton’s going to take snaps this year. I would imagine, he understands this more than anyone. I mean it’s Peyton Manning, for God’s sake.
While Denver eked out wins last year with Tebow, I remember some of those games where getting a simple first down seemed to be a huge accomplishment. Yes, Tebow was an integral part of some of those wins, but he wasn’t everything. If John Elway thinks Denver is going to be better with Peyton behind center, I think it’s fair to say he knows what he’s talking about. If the Vegas bookies think Denver’s going to be better with Peyton Manning, I say we’d better listen to them. If anyone knows anything about the game of football, it’s Vegas. Right?
With Tebow and this decision, I guess I feel bittersweet – more sweet than bitter – because I do like the guy. He shows great heart and passion for the game. I hope he does well wherever he goes. And if he remains a Bronco, I hope Peyton Manning rubs off on him.
I guess in all of this, nobody knows if this grand Peyton Manning scheme is going to work. He could go down with an injury (knock on wood) during the first game next year. He may just throw a bunch of interceptions. He just may be great and lead the Broncos to the AFC Championship, or, better yet, the Super Bowl. Nobody knows.
What this decision does prove, however, is that the Broncos are serious about winning a Super Bowl. The Broncos aren’t positioning themselves to win five or 10 years down the road. The Broncos’ organization wants to win a championship and they want to do it as soon as possible. Getting Peyton Manning reflects that desire and I am on board. It’s that desire to win a championship is why I am so damn excited to be a Bronco fan right now.
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