Reports are coming out that you will be announcing your return to the NFL for an 18th season, and fourth with the Denver Broncos. If these reports are accurate, you are making a wise choice. It may seem strange, but your career is incomplete, and leaving now would be like writing a book with no ending.
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I am sure you watched Tom Brady and the Patriots win the Super Bowl, defeating the team that thoroughly embarrassed you and the rest of the Broncos in the same game the year before. Your contemporary now has four championship rings to your one ring. He has defeated the team that you could not. Brady has simultaneously increased his own claim to greatest quarterback of all-time, and diminished yours.
Make no mistake, this is about legacy, and leaving now would tarnish yours. However, you are in good hands with John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Before Elway won back-to-back Super Bowls and rode off into the sunset, his legacy was similar to what yours is now, a great QB who could not get it done in the big game. No one says that about Elway anymore, and Kubiak is a big reason for that.
Go out on top. Leave no doubt that you belong in the discussion of greatest QBs of all time. Give Bronco fans what they have deserved since you came to Denver.
You can bet that you are now in a position to win, but you are going to have to change. When Elway won his two Super Bowls, the running game is what took him to the promised land. You do not have to be the offensive coordinator on the field. You can still audible, and shout, “Omaha,” all you want. If you think it is time to throw the football, Kubiak and Rick Dennison will give you that freedom. However, you can let go of total control, and just play football now.
You have been in the football spotlight since you were at Tennessee. Even then, you struggled to win the big game. Florida was your kryptonite, and then it was San Diego for a few years in the NFL. Brady and the Patriots took that over and have tormented you for years. However, your biggest nemesis in big games has been yourself. You out think yourself, and so your legacy now is, “Greatest Regular Season Quarterback of All-Time.”
You need a win. Put your trust in Kubiac and Dennison. Allow the Broncos organization to make decisions that will give you a chance to win, but do this one last thing. Truly commit to the Denver Broncos. You have two years left on your contract. Take them. Use both of them. Your body is old and tired. The best way to win as a QB with a tired and old body is to let the running game do the work. Tell the Broncos you intend to finish your contract, and hand the keys to the Ferrari to a group of guys who have proven to be great drivers.
Go out on top. Leave no doubt that you belong in the discussion of greatest QBs of all time. Give Bronco fans what they have deserved since you came to Denver. Complete your story. Then ride off into the sunset, and you’ll never have to look back with regrets.
A Life Long Broncos Fan
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks off the field after the NFL divisional playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports