Denver has Been Given an Early Christmas Present with Peyton Manning
It’s 43 degrees and sunny in Denver, but the temperature feels hotter in Broncos country today. The buzz is ridiculous here in Denver. Bronco Mania will remember where they were, and what they were doing this afternoon when they heard the news. It is now official as of today, Peyton Manning will be suiting up in blue and orange next season. On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Peyton signed a 5 year 96 million dollar contract to play for the wild horses. I live in the Denver area, and there is not much here that people get excited about more than Broncos football.
It’s like the city of Denver has been given an early Christmas present. Peyton Manning, a four time league MVP and super bowl champion, has joined forces with the team who last year caught fire and took the league by storm with Tebow mania. Next season, Bronco Mania will be all about future hall of famer Peyton Manning. Still, realistically there are questions as to whether he is 100%, coming off a season ending neck surgery last year. Don’t kill the reporter, but I have heard comments such as, “If Peyton Manning was healthy, why would Indianapolis let him leave?” This is logical, but skeptical thinking. Indianapolis is trying to rebuild, and they don’t want any of their players. Even Peyton Manning. I know it sounds crazy but it’s absolutely true. The Broncos most likely would not have signed him without some kind of doctor note clearing Peyton Manning of any lasting discomfort from the surgery. IF he is healthy, and IF he can stay that way through camp/pre-season, I would instantly make Denver the favorite to not only win the AFC West(which is projected the weakest in the league), but make a strong run in the playoffs.
Denver is a perfect fit for Peyton Manning. He is going into a situation where he has one of the premier offensive lines in the league. These guys will fight to protect him on every down. Just look back to last year, at how many times Tim Tebow scrambled around for almost a full minute, before launching the ball downfield. This has to have been one of the key factors in his decision to come to Denver. I expect that the Broncos will make an attempt to sign additional free agents to compliment Peyton Manning, most likely a wide receiver or a tight end(*cough* Dallas Clark). I think they will end up being stuck with most of the receivers they already have however, since most of the big time free agent wide receivers have already found new homes this off-season. Although, Peyton Manning has been able to utilize and bring out the best in mediocre wide outs throughout his entire career, with exception to Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and a few others. His main target will most likely be Demaryius Thomas. A big sure handed target who can flat out fly, and is responsible for making a number of huge plays last season including the Wild Card playoff game where he caught the 80 yard game winning touchdown catch in overtime against the Steelers.
Can Peyton Manning take the Broncos to the promise land? Again, it is a matter of health. Nobody is questioning his ability as a quarterback. He will go down as one of the greatest of all-time no doubt. However, he is 35 years old, and one bad hit away from being sidelined indefinitely. You could argue that any particular player is one tackle away from a season/career ending injury, but not many of them are making 96 million dollars. IF… he stays healthy, I think they are a serious contender to win a Super Bowl, if not next year, certainly within the next 5 years of Manning’s contract. I would say it is more likely to happen in the next three years or so if it does, seeing as it’s completely unknown as to how much fuel Peyton has left in his tank. Having said that, he is by far the best thing to happen to this franchise, since John Elway retired. The Broncos have had somewhat of a carousel at the quarterback position since Elway hung up the spikes in ’98. Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte(who?), Steve Beuerlein(who?), Jake Plummer(who at times was brilliant), Jay Cutler(who is now doing his thing with the Bears), Kyle Orton for three seasons(who was traded to KC last year), Tim Tebow, and now Manning. None of these players even slightly compare to Manning. You would have to be crazy to think that Broncos fans are not ecstatic about him coming here to Denver.
So what’s left for Tim Tebow? Well, it really was incredible what he did last year. Flashback to 2010, the Broncos were one of the worst teams in the NFL posting a franchise low record of 4-12. In 2011 they started the season 1-4 with Kyle Orton as their quarterback, and Broncos fans said, “Here we go again”. Orton would be benched for Tebow and later traded to Kansas City. Tebow played well, although erratic at times, he lead the Broncos to multiple 4th quarter comebacks. Despite losing their last three games of the season, the Broncos would win the division and squeak into the playoffs with an 8-8 record, in part due to the weak AFC West division. They pulled of an improbable overtime victory against the Steelers in the Wild Card round, and every Broncos fan will remember the comebacks, and the 80 yard game winning TD. They lost the next game to the Patriots but held their head high as the “Cinderella” team of 2011. Thanks Tim Tebow but it’s time to move on.
“They shopped around, but couldn’t find a circus big enough for Tebow AND Peyton Manning”, said Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The Broncos simply MUST trade Tim Tebow. Thank him for what he achieved last year, and part ways. There is no way around it. You can’t afford to keep a guy as a back-up, with as big of a media circus surrounding him. It’s just bad for the team. I honestly think it would be great for Tebow’s sake if he stayed and learned from one of the best to ever play the game(Manning), but it would hurt the team to have the unwanted press. He needs something like that though in my opinion, in order to develop into a “long term” quarterback in the NFL. As far as a trade goes, Jacksonville would be the first place to look. Possibly even Green Bay, and New England might be interested seeing as they have had a history of developing young quarterbacks, but again, Tebow doesn’t seem interested in riding the pine at this point, and I could see the Broncos flat out releasing him to be honest.
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