A lot has been made of Elway's intentions in regards to his move towards signing Peyton Manning. I've heard many opinions including some I thought I wouldn't hear like "the conspiracy theorists were right," "Elway wants to solve his 'Tebow Problem' once and for all," "Elway's lost my support etc." So here's my take, accept it for what it's worth.
Elway has never made bones about it, he has consistently stated that as far as building a championship team, the most important piece is a franchise QB. He's also been consistent about his assessment of Tim Tebow. He has stated over and over that Tebow needs to become a more accurate pocket passer, who uses his legs as a tool to make plays, not be the concentration of his game. He has also been consistent in saying that he isn't sure if Tebow is that franchise-type guy, but hopes that he is. He has also praised Tebow for the type of person he is, the work he puts in, and the intangibles to play lights out when the game is on the line.
What I gather from all this is the following:
-As we have all been on a ride this season, so has our FO and coaching staff in regards to Tim Tebow.
-One constant is that Elway has been hesitant to go "all in" with Tim Tebow going forward
-Another constant is that Elway has shown the ability to objectively analyze Tim Tebow apart from any overly-romanticized or idealized perceptions that fans often have.
As far as what I believe Elway sees in Manning? He isn't viewing Manning in terms of time perspective (short-term v. long-term), he is simply going after a player he believes will give his team the best opportunity to be a serious SB contender.
The positives and the negatives:
+ Elway is resolved to putting the Broncos in the most favorable positions with the best personnel.
+ Elway will not let public opinion, positive or negative sway his decisions in making critical roster decisions for the Broncos.
+Elway is in the best position to identify traits important to quarterback success.
- Elway, while consistent in his assessment of Tim Tebow, has made mistakes in timing and tone of his assessments.
- While I give props to Elway for not being swayed by public opinion in his pursuit of Manning, I also think he has let this force influence his mistakes in timing and tone of his assessments of Tebow.
My thoughts and further analysis of this and opinions I've heard:
I believe it when Elway said earlier in the season that he has never seen anything close to the outside media and support that follows Tim Tebow. While this force may be labeled "The Tebow Problem," I find it hard to believe that Elway isn't a reasonable enough person or executive to operate in this environment so long as he believes that Tebow is the future, and this is where some fans and Elway depart---he has consistently expressed that he hopes but isn't sure, and after a playoff victory most fans are sure-at least for another season. Let me put it this way, Elway is not in the business of "hating" on Tebow because of jealosy, Elway is not in the business of "hating" on Tebow because he feels his legacy is threatened, Elway is not in the business of "hating" on Tebow PERIOD. Even if at times this season, I've disagreed with Elway on some things in regards to Tim Tebow, I can't come to the conclusion that Elway or our coaching staff in anyway shape or form has tried to "sabotage" Tebow's effort---the evidence points to the contrary. IF Manning signs with Denver and IF Tebow is subsequently traded, I believe these are the reasons for such a move:
- Elway will support Manning as the starter, just as he supported Tebow as the starter. When Tebow firmly established himself as the starter, Kyle Orton was shipped off to rid the team of someone who wouldn't contribute. Manning will firmly be 'the guy' and Elway won't want to send mixed messages to the team.
- Elway will use Manning as the best chance to win now, while choosing a quarterback in the upcoming draft to groom behind Manning.
- Elway will have come to the conclusion that with Manning as the mentor, a more prototypical and traditional drop back passer will be the best "sponge" to absorb such tutilege.
Of course, these are my thoughts and what I think, and though I would personally like to keep Tebow for his 'potential,' it just might not be realistic due to the "force labeled as the Tebow problem." If Manning is our guy, then he's our guy and should be viewed as such from the outside in----that wouldn't be as feasable with Tebow on the roster. If you're still listening, let's move on to Peyton Manning.
In regards to Peyton Manning, here are the facts of what we know:
- In every season he's played, he's started EVERY SINGLE GAME. I have a hard time with anybody that throws around the argument that "he'll be done by midseason" as a viable argument against him coming in because that historically has not been accurate.
- He has won several MVP awards, one superbowl, led his team to an average of 12-13 wins in most of his seasons as a starter, shown the ability to be ahead intellectually of any other player and situation on the field, shown the ability to be one of the most accurate passers in NFL history etc etc.
Before his injury, he was a top 3 elite QB in the league...which gets me to more of what we know about Peyton, 4 neck surgeries.
If Peyton Manning were coming off another stellar season, injury free into the market, I don't think any of us would have problems with Manning being the guy over Tebow, but the fact remains this is a questionmark. Some things that have helped me alleviate my fears in regards to the injuries, and may put some of yours at ease as well are the following:
- Medical experts have stated he faces no greater risk of re-injuring his neck after his procedures than anyone else who steps on the field.
- Reports as of today indicate that Manning has made it known to the teams pursuing him that he is willing to include financial safeguards for related injury problems in his contract.
- Manning has stated that he is capable of making every throw in the route tree in his current condition and is capable of throwing the ball 50 yards
- Manning has provided tape of his throwing and workouts to teams that are pursuing him.
- Manning has promised that any team that will sign him will not be getting anything different than what we've seen in the past.
I realize that Manning would be dumb to state other wise, but knowing of Peyton and his character and work ethic as well, I can't say that I don't trust what he says. As far as his injury, it has been made abundantly clear that the neck is not a concern, the nerves connecting in his arm that control grip and velocity are a concern. I understand these concerns, but in this case, it seems like low-risk, high-reward to land a HOF Quarterback that would instantly upgrade our team at that position. We aren't talking draft picks, we're talking money, and the Broncos have a ton of free space--so much that even if 20-25 mill of that space were to be used on just Manning, there would be plenty left to sign other free agents, which won't hinder the Broncos in that way either. Not only that, since Manning is willing to include injury safeguards in his contract than we aren't even talking about a huge financial risk for the Broncos.
I have not been shy about stating I would be happy if Manning is brought in, but I'm also not Manning's agent and am not trying to sell anybody on anything. It is my humble opinion based on what I know that this move makes sense and is very low risk...UNLESS Tim Tebow turns out to be...
On Tim Tebow A franchise QB, who is a dual threat, perennial MVP candidate, and SB champion. The only negative as I see it in regards to Tim Tebow and his situation can be summed up by one word: POTENTIAL.
There is absolutely nothing worse than potential because potential by nature is the embodiment of the unknown. The unknown in this case is whether or not Tebow can become a more accurate passer in the mold similar to what elite QB's look like today. Noticed I said similar, because I don't know if Tebow will ever produce on the level of a Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, then again he might not have to, then again-who else does?
Tim Tebow is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. How else can I explain a QB who completes 46% of his passes (that number is significant because of the 50 QB's since the year 2000 who have seen significant playing time in their first couple of years, there's only been two to throw in the 40's) who also helped his team to the playoffs and a playoff victory? We all saw complete ineptitude at times followed by near utter brilliance. There's no easy answer when it comes to Tim Tebow and what we are left with is POTENTIAL. Potential is promising yet scary. I am a stats guy, but also saw that in certain situations that numbers couldn't explain what was going on. It was a perfect storm that at times had us reminiscing of comebacks and victories of old. I'll get more into this dynamic later on, but I want to get across the point that the Broncos over the long term simply cannot continue to win games in some of the fashions they won last year, and certainly not with some of the QB play that Tebow showed in some very embarrasing team losses. Note that I didn't write our victories off as 'luck' or blame Tebow for our losses. Football is the ultimate team game and both of those views are shortsighted. In those so called 'lucky wins' Tebow helped lead his team and ultimately made the plays he had to. In our losses, he was just one of the factors contributing to it. So I don't find either of these arguments to be valid...
In the end we have seen flashes, in the end we still don't know if Tebow will 'be that guy' and neither does Elway. Tebow seems to be a person that learns more by experience as opposed to someone who learns by study, so if EFX wanted to stick with Tebow long-term, then signing Manning isn't the best idea.
On being a fan I think that Tunesmith wrote an absolutely wonderful post about labeling and shaming and about how it is completely unneccesary. He's right. We all come from different backgrounds and ideals and this in turn affects our perceptions on the current situation. So I'm not stating the following lightly, and I want you guys to know more about be so you can understand where I'm coming from.
I was born in 1984 and have been a lifelong Bronco fan. I was too young to remember the drive though I've seen it later on. Some of my earliest memories of being a Bronco fan are of dressing up in my youth knock off Elway uniform complete with plastic helmet, and going outside on the porch of my house and waving to people who were driving by on the busy street just after we beat Cleveland at home in 'the fumble' game. I also remember the beat down in SB 24, a guy living on a billboard until we beat the Chargers in a 5-11 season, losing to the Raiders 24-0 in the early 90's, the loss to JAX in '96, our superbowl years, taking my dad the the Raider game in which JaMarcus Russell led a comback victory. I have tons and tons of Broncos memories
None has been greater than the Pittsburgh game this year. I still can't quantify why I view this as my greatest memory as a Bronco fan. I just can't think of a greater game that had so many subplots, changes in momentum, with great individual and team effort, that resulted in the most exciting OT play I've ever seen. I also had the opportunity to watch the game with my brother and his family after being out of state for the last 3 years and not having that opportunity. Another big part of that memory is what Tim Tebow accomplished as an underdog and what that means to me in my life now. When you're younger, you don't have an adequate appreciation of things because you have a limited perspective. Part of the reason why I feel so grateful for that game and performance is because the guy was told he couldn't, had been down and out the previous weeks, came into as the biggest underdog of all, was encouraged to forget his past mistakes and take a chance, and he did it, and my God he did it brilliantly and masterfully! It wasn't just Tim Tebow, it was Eddie Royal making an unbelievably tough catch after being MIA all season, it was DT stepping up and hitting it out of the park when Decker went down, it was Ayers and Dumervil making huge plays to prevent a game winning score, and an aging veteran in Champ making a huge tip on a pass after dropping a sure INT in the endzone. It was about believing, executing, and exceeding any expectations. It was absolutely beautiful! When I was younger, I knew that the Elway SB victory was important and it did mean a lot to me as a fan, but at that age I was incapable of appreciating it fully. This time around, I understood what the victory meant to a player, to our team, and to us fans, this game was the embodiment of our entire season and what Tim Tebow's POTENTIAL can bring to our team.
I love Tim Tebow and the way he carries himself, and the way he represents his teams, and the way he embodies the character of the "everyman" who works hard to succeed. In this whole process I started a Bronco fan and also became a Tebow fan. So whatever happens, I will support my team and I will trust that they are doing what is best, and understand that they are in a better situation than I am to make such decisions. I will also never forget what Tim Tebow did for this franchise, and I will always root for him to do well where ever he is, because a hard-working nice guy deserves to finish first
The difference between being a fan and being John Elway is huge. We have a luxery of romanticising and idolizing players that a FO executive doesn't and shouldn't have. EFX needs to do what it thinks is best for the team, and if last year was any indication, they know what they are doing. Tebow wasn't the choice of this regime, and it is unfair to expect them to deviate from what they believe is the right way of going about building a championship team.
In Conclusion: - I don't think Elway is trying to screw Tebow or get rid of him because he thinks he is a problem. I do think that Elway is pursuing Manning because he is an elite and productive talent.
- While Elway has made mistakes in regards to his public statements about Tebow, I don't think they were intentially done to jerk the guy around.
- I believe that Elway's doubts about Tebow are rational and at this point possibly outweigh what he sees as Tebow's strengths.
- Manning, in the short term, even if he is at 80% of what he was is still a worthwhile risk and investment and won't cost us much.
- We've had a hard time in recent history as fans, but EFX doesn't carry around that baggage and must be allowed to do things their way until they fail.
- I will always appreciate the things Tim Tebow has done for our team this year and will support him where ever he is whether that be here or elsewhere.
- The love I have for my team outweighs the love I have for individual players
- I respect the hell out of all my fellow Bronco fans and MHR brothers, even if we share different views, or even if you disagree with what I've had to say, thanks for listening