To bring Peyton Manning to Denver, even though he’s considered damaged goods, would be huge. I think even the biggest Tim Tebow lovers in the state would be excited to see Manning in shotgun formation behind the Broncos offensive line. Signing Peyton Manning would be the biggest thing in Denver since, well, the Broncos brought Tim Tebow to Denver.
After the Colts released the first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback last week, I paid close attention to where the bookmakers were saying Peyton’s next destination would be. It seemed the easy money was on Miami, Arizona, or the retirement home. Denver was on the list, but it was near the bottom with something like a 3 percent likelihood. Frankly, I was surprised Denver was even on the list and I didn’t think about it too seriously. We are in the midst of Tebowmania here in Bronco Country. I thought, why would the Broncos consider shifting gears toward Manningmania? (I also thought, why would Manning want to come to Denver? Outdoor stadium, constant comparisons to John Elway. Miami, with its South Beach cigar-and-bikini culture in combination with no income taxes, seemed to be the right fit.)
We must consider, of course, that the person in charge of players and personnel in Denver is none other than The Greatest Quarterback of All Time, John Elway, and he’s smart enough to know that not only do the Broncos only have one quarterback right now, but that one quarterback – as much as we are all crazy about his winning ability and attitude – still has a lot of uncertainty when it comes to his ability. So the Broncos got serious about courting Peyton Manning.
Next thing you know, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen sends his private jet out to south Florida to transport Manning to Denver, along with head coach John Fox and Elway for a little face to face time at Broncos headquarters. Manning in Denver created a scene similar to that of the O.J. Simpson police chase in Los Angeles. Helicopters buzzing highways. Reporters and photographers crashing the gates in Dove Valley. Denver turned into a crazed city on the drop of a dime, all because of this new and refreshed possibility the Broncos may get yet another superstar quarterback. It was complete mayhem, March Madness redefined.
Not that I can judge anybody by this behavior. Upon hearing that the Broncos were bringing Manning to Denver, I had six different windows opened on my laptop, two Twitter feeds running, three different radio stations on and the TV blaring at full volume. The only thing I had missing in my life that day was a ham radio. I needed to find out if Peyton Manning really was a possibility. I was crazed. The editors at The Denver Post were crazed as well, as the story appeared on page A1 above the fold. The photograph of Fox, Elway and Manning together may be the photo of the year. Seriously.
After Peyton left to go talk with other teams, like Arizona and Tennessee, there were a lot of columns written on the ridiculousness of Denver’s lust for Manning and how dare Elway ditch Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning. What about Tim Tebow’s feelings? Wouldn’t they be hurt? The thought among many of these columnists is that Elway was botching the whole thing even thinking about Manning. Tim Tebow is the future of Denver, right? Give me a break.
Tim Tebow, unlike most syndicated columnists and sports talking heads, understands that professional football is a business (for example, see Colts’ release of Manning) and that feelings don’t matter when it comes to making decisions. I’m sure Tebow, while he wants to start, understands why Elway is pursing Manning. Tebow’s feelings don’t matter. If feelings did matter, that slouch Kyle Orton would still be under center in Denver and Manning would still be in Indy.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about this whole Manning-to-Denver spectacle is we’ve all lost our marbles over the possibility, yet we don’t even really know if the guy can play. Can he play and can he sling the ball with some mustard on it?
I’m sure (as I continue to check Twitter as I write this) once I’ve completed this rambling train-of-thought column that Manning will decide whether or not he will be coming to Denver and this will all be stale commentary anyway.
If he comes to Denver, awesome. I’ll be whistling “Rocky Top” until the start of the 2012/2013 season. If he doesn’t come, awesome. Tebow, my boy, you’re our man for good or ill. No hard feelings, I hope.
I do know one thing that’s for sure. Elway and his past successes on the field have turned Denver into a quarterback hungry town. We are all looking for the next great John Elway-like quarterback, perhaps to our own demise.
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