Broncos QB Peyton Manning Clearly Has Only One Goal


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had some decisions to make this offseason, and essentially he held the fate of this year’s Broncos team in the palm of his hands.

With Manning, the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders…or so we’re told.

Without Manning? It’s time for Brock Osweiler and the rebuilding project to commence.

Things could be worse. John Elway was smart to draft a quarterback in case Manning did choose to leave. Just look at the Buffalo Bills who have given up valuable assets (money, draft picks) for Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel the last two years.

Yeah, I’d say things in Denver are pretty okay.

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After the Broncos’ playoff loss to the Colts, however, there were some serious debates — at times heated — among Broncos Country of whether or not Manning should return for an 18th season. Manning himself said after the loss that he didn’t know if he was going to or not.

When it became apparent that if Manning came back it would be probably for just one season, it made sense that he would help the Broncos’ cap situation by either re-structuring or reducing his 2015 salary cap number. He didn’t have to do it, and based on what the man has accomplished in the NFL, he maybe shouldn’t even have been asked. But making nearly double anyone else on the team in guaranteed money, the Broncos approached Manning about it, and he accepted a $4 million pay cut to remain with the team.

But that’s not the whole story. We have to look at how Manning and the Broncos got to this point to really paint the picture not only of how generous Manning is, but how obvious it is — as if it weren’t already — that this man has one thing on his mind, and it’s winning Super Bowl 50 as a member of the Denver Broncos.

First and foremost, the Broncos lost a playoff game to the team that drafted Manning, the team that he won a Super Bowl with, after he played the last month or more of the season with an injured quadricep. Manning, at that point, was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.

Just a month after he declared that he’d love to come back to the Broncos in 2015 “if they’d have me” Manning was telling reporters after a tough playoff loss that he was going to take time to process things, that he wasn’t going to make any rash decisions.

After Manning’s atrocious (yeah, I said it) finish to the 2014 season, the Broncos up and fired head coach John Fox and the coordinators on staff that Manning had become acclimated to since signing with Denver on March 20th, 2012. Fox was shown the door in a “mutual” parting of ways while defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Adam Gase bolted as well.

The Broncos made a bold but obvious move to go and get Gary Kubiak, the former Bronco quarterback and good friend of John Elway, to come and run the team. That decision alone told Manning that the ball was in his court. The Broncos expressed their desire to have him back publicly and frequently, but firing Fox and hiring Kubiak made coming back to Denver a tough decision.

Really tough.

The easy thing would have been for Elway to keep Fox and/or at least Gase around so Manning didn’t have to learn a new offense, or get acclimated to new coaches. Elway chose the long-term future of the Broncos over the short-term desires of Manning.

After that, Elway essentially said goodbye to tight end Julius Thomas, who has caught 24 touchdown passes from Manning over the last two seasons. Despite the frustrations we’ve all had with Julius, he was one of Manning’s favorite targets and when healthy, the two had a chemistry that could not be denied on the field.

Goodbye, Julius. Sorry, Peyton.

As if things weren’t tough enough already, the Broncos then called in Manning and said, “Hey, uh, Peyton? Yeah, so, um…we were wondering if you would, um, take a pay cut?”

It might have taken some time, but Manning agreed. After losing to the guy who made him expendable with the Colts in the playoffs, after his coaches were let go and all new ones were hired, having to learn a new scheme, losing (still TBD, I suppose) his top target at tight end, and being asked to take a pay cut — after all of that, Manning decided it was worth it to come back.

He is ready.

Physically, emotionally, mentally Manning is ready to go. He has more than made an investment in the Broncos’ organization far greater than anyone seems to really care to realize at this point.

Manning did more than take a pay cut. He did more than take one for the team.

When Manning passes his physical and it’s official that he’s coming back to the Broncos, everything that’s been done behind the scenes will likely be forgotten, Manning’s incredible acts of selflessness pushed to the back burner.

By the way, that physical is mandated by Manning. He had it put into his contract so that if he was in any way not physically ready, the Broncos would not have to pay him for something he could not do.

Broncos Country needs to realize the magnitude of what he’s doing for the team, and how it’s going to help them succeed this coming season.

Peyton ‘Effin Manning, man.