The 20 biggest what-ifs in Denver Broncos history

  • Blockbuster trade for Calvin Johnson?
  • Missing out on Kyle Shanahan
  • Steve Young the Denver Broncos QB?

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1. What if the Peyton Manning situation had gone ANY different?

I dread to even think about this question. The series of events that led to Peyton Manning coming to Denver can almost only be described, in hindsight, as a stroke of pure fate or destiny.

It all starts with Denver's side of things. The Broncos should have still had Jay Cutler at QB, but Josh McDaniels traded him away, creating a hole at that position for the Broncos in 2009. The Broncos didn't use a first-round pick on anyone in the 2009 NFL Draft, and then they selected Tim Tebow in 2010. If none of that happens, Peyton Manning probably goes somewhere else.

Then there's Manning's side of things. Manning had played a relatively full career with the Colts at the time. Had he been really any younger, would Jim Irsay have approved cutting him at all? After five neck procedures, the guy could barely grip a football to throw it. But he obviously worked his way back to full strength for some dominant years in Denver. What if Manning never needed any neck procedures? What if the Broncos didn't have John Elway in the GM seat? What if they hadn't won a playoff game the year prior? What if literally any other team had done any single thing to make themselves more appealing to Manning than Denver?

Then there's the Colts' side of things. Would the Colts have cut Manning if Andrew Luck hadn't been in that 2012 NFL Draft? Would they have cut him if the best QB in the class was Robert Griffin III? What if Luck, who would have been the top pick in 2011 if he had decided to come out of school as a redshirt sophomore, had come out just one year sooner?


It's insane to think about all that had to go in Denver's favor for this one signing to happen. The greatest free agent signing in the history of professional sports. But it all happened. The stars aligned. History was made. And a Super Bowl was won.

The more you think about this one, the crazier it becomes.

Next. 10 biggest trade mistakes in Denver Broncos history. 10 biggest trade mistakes in Denver Broncos history. dark