Let me start off by saying that at 26 years old, and in my personal opinion I think that Peyton Manning is the best Q.B. of my generation, and the most overall impressive and exciting quarterback that Ive ever seen play the game. .
The teams courting Peyton Manning right now are probably hoping to get the kind of season out of him that Brett Favre had with the Vikings in 2009. The salty veteran that is the last piece to the puzzle. Few people expected Favre to have the kind of career season he did at his age, and im guessing that must be fresh in the minds of those who think that Peyton Manning will be their ace in the hole at 36. There are some big differences between Favre in 09 and Manning in "12", Favre hadnt taken any time off so to speak as far as a football season, hadnt suffered any serious injuries, and was still considered one of the most durable Q.B.s in the NFL well past his mid thirties, and has a consecutive streak of starts for an NFL Q.B. that isnt likely to be broken anytime soon. Peyton on the other hand has just missed a full season of play due to multiple serious neck surgeries, and a year away from the game when your past your mid thirties, probably feels more like 5 years compared when he was maybe in his 20's or something.
On top of that Favre walked into a team that was loaded with offensive firepower, they had the best running back in the NFL with Adrian Peterson, an excellent group of recievers from Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian, to slot recievers with game breaking speed like Percy Harvin, and a solid tight end in Visanthe Shiancoe who scored 11 TDs that year. Not to mention almost every player on that 09 Vikings defense had career years, guys like Jared Allen, E.J. Henderson, Ray Edwards, and Kevin Williams combined for nearly 50 sacks on the season. I mean the team was primed for success.
So with that said, the Vikings were basically already set for a deep run in the playoffs all they needed was a Q.B. that could be more productive than Tavaris Jackson, and not to take anything away from what Brett did while with the Vikings, but with the weapons he had I think Doug Flutie might have been able to take that team to the playoffs. The Broncos on the other hand are no where close to having the kind of offensive or defensive firepower that the Vikings had on there roster, and are more than just a few draft picks or free agents away from even being close to contending for a Super Bowl. The best reciever they have on their roster is Demaryius Thomas, and while he has great potential, his is still very raw and unproven. The most productive reciever they had last year was probably Eric Decker, and while he did have some big plays, he gets about as much seperation from defenders as a hyundai does a porsche. Then at running back, while Willis Magahee had one of the better years of his career, hes over 30 now and unlikely to have another year like 2011 again, so the Broncos just dont really have the pieces in place yet neccesary for an aging QB to give them a chance for a title run in the next 2 years.
The fact is, as much knocks as Tebow takes for his throwing motion his lack of accuracy whatever, there is no way I can believe that the Broncos win the division and beat the former AFC champions to make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs without him, especially after starting the season 1-4 with Kyle Orton, who is a similar style QB to Peyton Manning, but not nearly as good a leader or as football smart. Call it luck or whatever you want, Tebow was exactly what the doctor ordered for that struggiling Denver Bronco team.
Of course Peyton Manning is a better Q.B. than Tim Tebow, even at 80% he would be a better passer. Tebow will never even come close to doing what Peyton has done as a passer, he will never be as football smart, and will probably never even make a Pro Bowl. Peyton is one of the most prolific passers to ever play the game, and if he walked away from the game right now he would be a first ballot hall of famer no questions asked, end of story.
But he is not what the Broncos need. Nor do I think Peyton believes the Broncos is what he needs, or wants at this stage in his career. I think this whole courting process between Peyton and the Broncos has been more of one of those going through the motions, and just playing the game of free agency. Not to mention a lot of his dialouge with the Broncos, was probably more out of him having enough respect for John Elway to listen to his proposal, as well as it giving notice to other teams that he was still a big ticket item and they had better get their ducks in a row if they want to make him a serious offer. With as much controversy at the Q.B. position as the Broncos had last year, and the ridiculous media frenzy and team division that it caused, why would Peyton even expose himself to something like that at this stage in his career? Even as good as Peyton is, imagine if the Broncos start out 1-4 again, Peyton is playing poorly and the fans start chanting for Tebow, you think Peyton Manning would even put himself in a position for that to happen. I dont think so.
Now lets turn the page to the Tennesse Titans. You can be sure one of the first things on Peytons mind is protecting his body. The Titans allowed the 2nd fewest sacks per pass play in the NFL, compared to the Broncos who were 9th in the league for most sacks allowed. Granted that might have alot to do with Tebow, but for how many times he even threw the ball... this has to be seriously weighing on Peytons mind. Denvers line was built for run blocking, pass blocking could use much improvement, and no way I can imagine Peyton getting sacked as much as Tebow or even close to it, without getting injured. Next and probably most important, is how comfortable Peyton is in the state of Tennessee.
I would guess probably 25% or more of the states population has either a son or daughter with Peyton as part of their name or at least an animal. He is the most beloved sports figure to ever play in the state of Tennesse from his time playing Q.B. for the Vols, in spite of the fact he never won a National Championship, a Heisman or ever beat their arch rival the Gators while he was there. In spite of that you would be hard pressed to find a more popular sports figure in the state, and who wouldnt want to return to a state that considers him a god. So that being said, Peyton could go 0-16 with the Titans and he would still be the most beloved Q.B. in the state, and there wouldnt ever be a day Titans fans would start chanting the name of a backup while he was on the field.
So with the option to go play for a team in a state where he is more popular than every NFL athelete combined, or enter what could be a very futile and combutsible situation in Denver, I think the outcome seems obvious. Add to that the fact that the Titans have the better offensive weapons, one of the best passing lines in the leauge, one of the best running backs in the NFL with Chris Johnson, and with young stud recivers like Kenny Britt who are just waiting to breakout if given a gun slingging Q.B. like Peyton and I think its a done deal hes going to sign with the Titans. So with Peyton in Tennessee its much less of a risk, with a much greater reward. As opposed to Denver where its high risk, at best minimal reward, at worst High Risk, No Reward!
Can you really blame Elway and the Broncos organization for going after one of the most prolific Q.B.s to play the game if they thought it would be an upgrade to their current guy. No, thats the buisness of the NFL to always try and upgrade your roster, you have to put feelings aside. But by doing what they have done, and so far looks like they have failed to do, the only thing they really accomplished was kick back up some old embers from a huge fire that looked to be nearly put out. As bad as EFX handled the situation with Orton and Tebow last year, this whole Peyton courting process may turn out to be even worse. After commiting to Tebow at the end of what became one of the most exciting seasons in years, it looked like Elway and the Broncos were finally putting an end to the controversy and showing some public faith in the QB that helped them get to the playoffs after years of dissapointing seasons.
So just as it seemed the controversy had ended, and they were finally going to give Tebow there full confidence and give him the oppurtunity to go into the 2012 season as the #1 guy, they turn around and give him a fresh slap in the face, by rolling out the red carpet on the private jet to Peyton Manning. A sure fire sign they do not see him as the future and no matter how much they beg to differ, they do not believe he is capable of being what they want. I mean how many public shows of no confidence and disrespect do you really want to throw at the guy who you say is going to be your starting Q.B. in 2012. All it does is show the team that the Front Office has no confidence in him, so why should they. It just creates more division and problems than its worth. Especially right after he just had to deal with one of his own teammates in Brady Quinn giving him a good ol slap in the face in a S.I. interview, calling him lucky and bashing the guy throughout the whole artcile, saying things like the only reason he got the starting job in the first place is because of pressure from the fans. Funny though, because I do seem to remember Tebow outperforming Quinn in the preseason, especially in the last preseason game against the Cardinals in which was supposed to be the game that decided who would be #2 behind Kyle Orton. Brady Quinn went 4/12 for 26 yds and 1INT, and Tebow went 7/11 for 116 yds 1TD. Seems pretty cut and dry to me. But what do I know.
What the Broncos should have done was spend the same kind of energy they gave Peyton Manning with the red carpet treatment, private jets, public display of affection on twitter by Elway etc.. and used some of that energy to actually get some weapons on the Broncos offense. Its doesnt matter who your Q.B. is if he doesnt have any playmakers! Broncos recievers probably would have led the NFL in drops had they passed the ball more. They just so abruptley decided to trade away their best offensive threat during the middle of the season last year in Brandon Lloyd, who led the NFL in receptions the year before, but I guess they decided he was just being to productive and not dropping enough balls. Not to mention they had just given Tebow the starting nod the same week they dropped Lloyd! Not like Tebow might need a veteran playmaker who was the best reciever on the team in his first start of the 2011 season, wouldnt make any sense! But of course EFX and the Broncos support Tebow!!!
So now Elway has almost certainly failed to aqquire Manning, despite all his groveling, and just made himself look like a hypocritical joke. Hey Tebow great season, havent seen so many great 4th quarter comebacks here at Mile High in years, thanks for helping us turn this team around, giving the fans reason to be excited, and taking us to the playoffs for the first time in years, and not only that but getting a playoff win in only your 2nd year in the NFL. Man you did a great job buddy. Heres the keys to the offense next season, you earned it buddy you played your heart out. Just make sure you work hard in the offseason, and keep improving and im gonna be here for you, to mentor you and help you in anyway you need. Tebow- Heey John I was just calling to see if we could go over some of those footwork drills you said youd help me with today, Elway- Hey Tebow, hey buddy, hey not gonna make it today just go ahead and do one of your charity things today bud, Im rubbing out some cramps on Peytons legs right now and I got to tweet about how good his throwing motion is after so, next week would be better for me bud..