Once-in-a-lifetime. Future first-ballot Hall of Famer. Super Bowl champion. The resume describing Peyton Manning is endless. (Nearly) Hundred-million dollar man, laser-rocket arm, and here’s a new favorite: Denver Bronco.
John Elway got his man. His legacy is now tied to the signing of Manning.
Remember back to the day Elway was announced by the team as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. At the introductory press conference, Elway talked at length about the nature of his job, how he saw himself fitting the role, and about what it would take to flip a 4-12 team with a disenfranchised fan base.
My greatest asset is my competitiveness and I will give everything I can to return this team to the way it was back in the day when we were winning championships, in the playoffs, winning AFC Championships, the AFC West, and I will do everything I can do to that.”
“I will tell you this — (Mr. Bowlen) has bestowed (this) on me to make sure that we never lose that connection. Because, other than winning, that’s the most important thing that this organization wants, and that is that relationship with the fans, and it is important that we never lose that. – Elway, January 2011.
In winning the Manning sweepstakes, Elway has made good on his first promise, to do “everything he can” to return the Denver Broncos to a team of championship caliber.
The second issue addressed gets contentious. There is no doubt in the Mile High City that Tim Tebow has become more popular on Sundays than a summer hike up Grays and Torreys. The easy (and accurate) argument is that Tebow led the team to an AFC West Championship, precisely what Elway was asking of his players. A contingency of the Broncos’ fanbase will not see this move as beneficial to the team.
However, Elway’s pursuit of Manning is more about what number 18 can do, than it is about what number 15 can’t. Would Elway have gone to the trouble to name Tebow the starter and then promptly start making calls to the agents of Matt Flynn, Alex Smith, or Vince Young? Please. See the above descriptions of Manning. This move will not damage the fan’s connection to the team. Winning has a funny way of bringing people together.
The way I look out of my eyes and what I want to do with my life is that I love the challenges that Mr. Bowlen has given me here. So, I am truly excited about it. Talk about legacy — the thing that I would want to do is look back and say, ‘You know what? You had a chance to go do something as big as this and as the position that was given to you.’ To be able to walk away from that, I would have never been able to forgive myself. That is not what I am about. I am about running up that hill and competing. So, with this opportunity to be able to do this here is a mountain that I am ready to climb. -Elway on his legacy.
Elway saw an opportunity to make the team more competitive, and he seized it. By staking his legacy to Manning, he and the Denver Broncos look ready to summit once again.