Even with it being finals week, I couldn’t just let this story go without a comment. It’s Peyton Manning. After being let go by the Indianapolis Colts a little over two weeks ago, Manning visited several teams to see where he might be comfortable playing next. Today, multiple news sources – ESPN first – reported that Manning had chosen the Denver Broncos. It’s going to be so weird not seeing him in a horseshoe uniform. ESPN photoshopped Manning into a Broncos jersey…and it was bizarre. Maybe I’m just not ready for it yet…but wow. It’s…different.
But I’m glad Manning found a team that he seems to really like and feel good about. I was so disappointed in the Colts for dropping him, so I’m glad he has a place in the NFL still. I understand that the Colts were looking at rebuilding the organization, and that clearly meant drafting Andrew Luck. I would have liked to see Luck be drafted but mentored by Manning – what more could you ask for? But the Colts had different ideas and let Manning go. John Elway pounced.
Denver’s been the site of Tebow-mania all year long. Everyone loves Tim Tebow. It put Elway and Coach John Fox in a tight spot, since fans were so adamant about their love for Tebow despite his questionable skills. Fox deserves a lot of credit for adapting the offense the best he could to Tebow’s skill set. But with all that said and done, how can you argue against getting Peyton Manning as your QB? Elway’s smart. This was a clever political move, and a good escape route from the Tebow saga. It’s fitting, since Elway is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Bronco of all time. So for him to come back and turn around the organization, and then engineer the addition of Manning – well, he’ll get more love than ever. It’s impressive that he’s able to contribute to the Broncos in these two different ways – as a player and as an executive – to achieve the same goal of reaching the Super Bowl.
I did a report on Manning’s injury and surgeries for school this year. His case is sad but fascinating at the same time. His persistence and willingness to recover from multiple surgeries is really amazing, and it shows just how passionate he is about this game. I was so hoping he’d come back from this last surgery, and he seems to be on that path so far. Clearly Elway was impressed with his range of motion. One thing I’ve heard throughout all of the news reports is that Manning is the one who put extra time and effort into the process of choosing a team, and insisted on throwing in front of each team despite their assurances that his health was not a concern. He also handled the situation in Indianapolis with a lot of honesty and grace, which can’t be said about everyone there. He’s a consummate professional in everything he does, and I could definitely see him as an executive of an NFL organization in the future. I can’t see him staying away from the NFL. I hope he doesn’t.
So for now, we all get to sit back and watch as for the next step in this crazy free agent season – Tebow’s future. He’ll most likely be traded by the Broncos. But watching Manning with the Broncos…that’s going to be so much fun. I’m also interested as to what free agents will take an interest in the Broncos now that Manning is connected to them. Some of his former Colts team members are free agents. Like I said – this is going to be a lot of fun. It’s still going to be weird watching him put on the Broncos jersey, but hell, it’ll be weird seeing Luck in a Colts jersey as the primary QB of the team. So this season is going to be really interesting for a lot of people. And it’s best of all as a fan – we get to watch it all unfold without all the pressure that comes with it (well – most of the time).