Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning as a backup is surreal

Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be Brock Osweiler’s backup on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, and that’s going to be surreal for football fans.

Unless we have already become callous to it, Peyton Manning as Brock Osweiler’s backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos on Sunday is going to be one of the most surreal moments in any of our lifetimes as football fans.

Think about it, especially for us as Broncos fans.

Peyton Manning came to town and torched the Broncos’ secondary to the point that Mike Shanahan made one of the ballsiest trades in team history, giving up Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey. We then saw him go after cornerbacks with three picks in the 2005 NFL Draft and he tried almost anything he possibly could to stop Manning (and other top flight QBs for that matter), and it simply didn’t matter.

Peyton Manning has been a living legend throughout his entire NFL career, and Broncos fans experienced it two short years ago when he threw 55 — FIFTY-FIVE — touchdown passes in a single season, an NFL record.

As far as the NFL is concerned, Peyton Manning is a god, and he’s going to be the backup to Brock Osweiler on Sunday afternoon in a home game where everything (home field advantage in the playoffs) is on the line.

Like I said, surreal.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that Peyton Manning would be a member of the Denver Broncos someday, much less suiting up on a Sunday afternoon as a backup QB, I would have tried to slap some sense into you. I certainly would have laughed out loud at the notion.

And yet, here we are. Peyton Manning is a backup.


And yet, we might never truly know whether or not the Broncos are making the right call. They are going to live and die by Brock Osweiler, who has provided two of the biggest wins in recent franchise history, or at least, he was part of them. The Broncos’ victory over the New England Patriots earlier this season as well as their most recent win over the Bengals on Monday Night Football could prove to be the difference between the AFC running through Denver in the playoffs or the Broncos having to play spoiler on the road.

Manning leads the league in interceptions despite playing in just nine games this year. The Broncos know that he has pretty much lost it at this point. The team now belongs to Brock Osweiler, and that’s going to be very apparent on Sunday as Manning will likely don a hat on the sideline with a headset on, and Osweiler will be tasked with moving the ball down the field and putting enough points on the board to beat the Chargers to seal the AFC West crown and a first round bye in the playoffs.

I can’t imagine what must be going through Manning’s mind.

It’s been a really tough year for Manning, who has dealt with injury, and insult on top of it as allegations of HGH use came to light recently from his treatments on neck operations back in 2011. Manning’s recent interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters showed a very angry, very tired, very worn out individual (in my opinion) that has had enough of the off-field aspect of football and is ready to get back to business on the field.

As the Broncos are in the middle of a playoff run, Manning is going to be a good soldier and say he’ll do whatever he can to help the team win, but it has to be killing him that the reins weren’t immediately handed back over to the guy who has done literally almost everything there is to do in the NFL.

By the way, he’s one regular season victory away from the all-time record in that category as well.

If things get really hairy for Osweiler, the Broncos know they can turn to Manning, but after all they have seen from both players this season, they’ve chosen Osweiler to come up with the biggest win of the season, and to lead this team into the playoffs.

Like I said, it’s all so surreal. Peyton Manning, an NFL backup quarterback. I never thought I’d see the day.