Stay within the confines of “realism” at your own peril. Strap on a tinfoil hat if you want to have some fun. The Denver Broncos’ head coach search has been ongoing since late December. The team fired Nathaniel Hackett before the end of the 2022 NFL season and has since been searching for his successor, and hopefully a long-term option to fill the latest wacky carousel for the Broncos. One idea that used to only get thrown around by the people of Facebook is the idea of Peyton Manning becoming the next head coach of the Denver Broncos. This idea has often been quickly shot down by most people because, well, Manning hasn’t ever really been a “coach”, per se.
Although, everyone knows who was the Denver Broncos true offensive coordinator from 2012-2014 before Gary Kubiak came into the mix in 2015. Peyton Manning has as much if not more merit as a coach as his old Colts teammate Jeff Saturday, with all due respect to Saturday. Manning has always been known for being a mastermind of the X’s and O’s and nobody would dispute his football acumen. Leading a locker room?
There are plenty of question marks to be brought up regarding how, logistically, all of this could work out, but since we’re at the position we are right now, the best question might be why not?
The idea of Peyton Manning becoming an official part of the Denver Broncos again has been coming up for years. Fans have been clamoring for him as head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, general manager, team president, part-owner — you name it. If there’s been a substantial opening with the Denver Broncos organization, you can bet that fans have dreamed of what it might be like for Peyton Manning to come back and fill the void.
But the idea of Manning becoming a coach in the NFL always seemed a little ridiculous. The man has bigger fish to fry, certainly. NFL coaches don’t get paid enough to warrant Manning stepping away from his TV stuff he’s got going on with ESPN, to truly pull him from the enjoyment of retirement.
Perhaps we should just get used to the idea of Manning making appearances at Denver Broncos home games and hope that his mere presence can help the team get back on the right track.
The difference right now is the fact that there could be historic money on the table when it comes to the Denver Broncos head coaching position. It’s been rumored that candidates like Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh could command $20-25 million per year to coach in Denver. Not that those rumors have been substantiated, but let’s say they are true.
What if the Broncos offered Peyton Manning $20-25 million per year to come back and coach? That would be more than his salary as a player.
Let’s take a step back here for the moment. Manning already lives in Denver. He comes to the home games. He is still very much affiliated with the Denver Broncos, even if it’s in an unofficial capacity. Manning knows the game, he could put together a tremendous staff around him, and we certainly know he’s got the competitive fire.
The question is whether or not Manning would want to dedicate the time it would take to being an NFL head coach, and whether he would want to inherit that kind of pressure. That remains to be seen. Again, Manning seems to be very much enjoying retirement and there’s little or no reason to think he’d come out of retirement to coach the team he once helped win Super Bowl 50.
But then again, money talks. We know Peyton Manning has a strong relationship with the ownership group and it’s been assumed that his opinion could be at least taken into account regarding this year’s coaching search. There have also been reports of mystery candidates.
Are we all just going insane, or the longer this thing drags out, does an unpredictable name like Peyton Manning start to make more sense and sound that much more appealing compared to the alternatives?
On paper, the idea seems a bit laughable because this would seem too crazy to actually happen. Then you consider that Jim Irsay just hired Jeff Saturday out of nowhere to be the Colts‘ interim head coach, and perhaps their permanent head coach going forward.
It seemed like the Jim Harbaugh ship had sailed for the Denver Broncos, but is that really the case? The latest reports indicate the door may be open.
Broncos Country is going a little stir-crazy, but this idea sounds less insane than it might have three months ago, depending on what Peyton Manning really wants right now. Money talks.