Back in the mid 1800’s, miners flocked to Colorado during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. In 2012, the Denver Broncos crowded the NFL’s biggest free agent when they went panning for Manning.
Put it this way. They struck gold again. Peyton Manning called John Elway Monday morning to tell him that he will trade one horseshoe in for another, going from Colt to Bronco. Hold your horses, it looks like Manning has finally come of age.
The Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers were also in hot pursuit after the future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks showed an interest as well.
Manning comes to Denver after 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts, winning one Super Bowl (playing in two), making the trip to the Pro Bowl eleven times, and taking home four MVP awards.
The Broncos laid all of their cards on the table and put their necks out there for Manning’s neck. In the process, they have pulled the reins in on Tebowmania.
The Denver appeal is clear. After winning two Super Bowls in his late 30s, John Elway is still a face of the franchise even though he now sits in a large leather chair in the front office. He has confidence in an aging quarterback. John Fox is a well respected coach who will gladly hand the offense over to Manning. Fox is a defensive minded guy, anyway. Denver’s defense is on the upswing, and the team has plenty of cap space to work with. That means that even after Manning is officially on board, the Broncos can bring in some of his confidants like Dallas Clark and Jeff Saturday, or sign other big name free agents. Factor in some great weather for football (he visited Denver on a 70-degree day), and a passionate fan base, and therein lies Manning’s decision.
What becomes of Tim Tebow? That remains to be seen. He deserves to start somewhere after the season that he had, and after a fair non-locked out off season in which he can improve his mechanics.
Of course, Manning’s neck remains the big question mark. After a cervical fusion forced him to miss all of last season, his arm strength and durability are of concern to many fans.
Manning spent time throwing to Brandon Stokley in a Castle Rock park during his visit and Stokley says that his arm is stronger than ever.
Once again, the face of the Broncos franchise changes again. Is this the Man(ning) that can fill Elway’s big shoes? Elway thinks so. What do you think?