This is has been re-posted by me, after receiving permission from its author.
My open Letter to John Elway (Posted by Tom Mackie on his Facebook page)
Dear John --
You were a great player but you still have a lot to learn about managing an NFL franchise. You have already broken the first rule of being a great general manager, lying to players and to the great Broncos fans.
You told Tim Tebow that he would be the starter going into training camp. That promise lasted less than 2 months. I understand. All Tebow did was make the Broncos the talk of the entire country again, fill the stands with delirious fans, send merchandise sales through the roof, and make the team winners for the first time in 6 seasons. Tebow did this even after you told Kyle Orton that he was the man and then watched him drive the Broncos offense off I-25 into a ditch with a 1-4 record.
So you turned to the youngster. Of course, for good measure, before you handed Tebow the keys to the offense you got rid of the team’s best receiver for an awesome 5th round draft pick! Still, despite the criticism and lack of offensive weapons, Tebow went 8-5 as a starter including an eye-popping, 7-straight wins. It doesn’t matter that Tebow ignited the franchise and got the whole team to rally around him. I understand. Tebow has that pesky, quirky throwing motion. The kind that somehow throttled the #1 defense in the playoffs for over 300 yards and the most jaw-dropping winning TD play of the year – and perhaps playoff history.
But you said that was OK because you promised to work with Tebow in the offseason to help him improve his game. You said you were looking forward to taking the old tie off and get on the field to show the kid how to play QB. You lied about that too. All because a 36-year-old future Hall of Famer became available.
Which, of course, brings us to your second mistake – lying to the great Broncos fans. You told Bronco nation that you were going to rebuild the Broncos from the ground up to win the Super Bowl. But that’s not true either. You see, when you dump your young star QB for a 36-year-old signal caller who hasn’t played in a year because he was too busy undergoing 4 neck surgeries, you’re not really rebuilding a team. You’re trying to recapture the past. You’re also betting against the 93-year history of the NFL. The truth is, no 36-year-old QB (or older) in the history of the league has ever won a championship with a new team. Never. Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Kurt Warner, none of them could do it. And only Unitas was older than Peyton Manning. The closest was 35-year-old Chargers QB Tobin Rote who led San Diego to the 1963 AFL title after spending 4 years in Canada. That was the year I was born, John. I’m almost 50! Sure Peyton Manning is no Tobin Rote, except Rote did win more championships.
That goes to the next interesting thing about Manning. As great as he is, the guy has a 9-10 playoff record. I would mention that even the soon-to-be discarded Tebow has a better record. But that’s not really fair. So how about Montana’s 16-7 playoff record, Unitas’s 6-3. Heck, you were 14-8 and it still took you 15 years to win a Super Bowl playing with the same team. It took Manning 9 years to win one with Indy. What makes you think Manning can pull it off in 3 years when better clutch players fell short?
Seriously, 3 years is the window you’re looking at if Peyton signs with Denver. And let’s be honest. It’s not like the Broncos are 1 QB away from winning it all. There’s that defense that gave up 6 TD passes in one playoff game. That never could really stop the run all year. I know if Peyton signs there’s a chance you might be able to add a bunch of your Colts teammates. I guess if you sign them you could win the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLI, that is. Of course, by waiting for Peyton you’re letting all the top defensive free agents sign with other teams. That’s a lot to wager on.
OK, John. I get it. You’re in charge. In your mind it doesn’t really matter how your actions impact Bronco nation or the likes of Tebow. The heck with rebuilding a team. Let’s win it all right now by gambling with a guy that’s going to somehow turn back time by doing something no one in NFL history has ever done. At least do the fans one thing before you go off on your crazy dream to win it all with an aging, not 100% healthy QB.
Maybe, just maybe, watch Peyton throw first!
Tom Mackie is the co-author of Floyd Little’s Tales from the Broncos Sideline. Check out his blog: TrueGridiron.com and follow him on twitter @TheMoops44.