I've been hearing a lot of chatter from the pro-Manning camp about all the benefits of adding a player of his caliber. Many people are excited about the idea of having THE Peyton Manning coming to Denver. Frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach, and I know I'm not alone. Here's why.
No, it's not because I'm a Tebow-maniac. I like the kids potential, it's true, but I don't have any delusions of him being the best QB to ever grace the football field. I honestly don't think he's better than Manning either. And no, I don't have anything against Manning. I think he is one of the greatest to ever play the game. Watching him orchestrate his offense in Indy was a thing of beauty to watch. I feel privileged to be able to watch one of our sports' legends in action.
How did you feel when we were racking up those miracle wins this past season? How great did it feel especially coming off of our dismal season prior to that? Last season was the most exciting time for me as a Bronco fan since we brought home our last Lombardi. I've thought long and hard about why this season was so exciting, and I think I've finally put my finger on it: I see some buds sprouting.
After watching a Bronco organization grasping at straws for years following our last Super Bowl win, it seemed like we were stuck in the doldrums. I've watching quarterbacks come and go along with coaches, and possibly every defensive coordinator we could get our hands on has been shown the door. All of a sudden it looks as though we have a staff who gets it. Elway and Fox show up whisking in a new attitude that we haven't seen for years. A team starts to develop. The Broncos gain a little bit of swagger, and we start getting some Denver Bronco bounces again. Wins, a division championship, a playoff appearance, and our first playoff win in ages follow. More importantly, with all the youth and potential on this team, the future looks bright. The roots are starting to develop, and I see some buds sprouting.
Now, I'm excited in ever of having these roots in place and the cap space to help shore up weaknesses through the team. We can do this! We can finally start building this franchise the way the great ones have been built; from the ground up. We need to keep drafting well, we need our coaches to groom our young talent, and we need Peyton Manning....wait, what??
The talk of us pursuing Peyton has put me into a tailspin. Did we hire Shanahan back and we are being told we are only "one player away" again? Or are all my hopes misplaced and the organization is already abandoning their 3-year model? I understand he's one of the greatest to play the game, but we are more than one player away. We aren't winning the Super Bowl if we bring Peyton in. We aren't good enough yet, plain and simple. We got manhandled in the playoffs by the Patriots, and it wasn't only because our quarterback let us down. We were the inferior TEAM. Manning wouldn't have prevented them from dropping 45 on us. It's highly doubtful that he would have scored more than 45 too.
So what would this move do? The best case scenario is that he will help us to early losses in the playoffs for 2-3 years. That's all I can see. 2-3 years of almost good enough will cost us the ability to continue grooming our young quarterback who's already lead us to an early playoff exit. It will cost us a huge chunk of our cap room which could be used to shore up our quickly aging secondary, or running back stable. It will put us in the unenviable position to have to drastically scramble for another quarterback to develop in a few years. It stunts our potential.
I hear a lot of people saying, "Peyton Manning will be an upgrade at quarterback, and you can't pass that up." Sure you can, there are only 10-11 teams in the league who are interested in him. He's definitely better than a top 20 quarterback, no? There are many teams out there who Manning would upgrade at their QB position, but they aren't interested. The Browns flat out said they weren't interested in him, weird. Maybe mortgaging the future of your team on a past his prime and quickly approaching retirement QB isn't such a no-brainer. Maybe it's a sucker bet.
For a final bit of food for thought: why exactly did the Colts release him? Andrew Luck hasn't stepped foot on an NFL practice field yet. Nobody can be absolutely sure he will pan out, let alone develop into a player of Manning's level. Manning held an almost god-like status in Indiana similar to what Elway was in Bronco Country. What circumstances do you think it would have taken for the Broncos to release Elway towards the end of his career? I think the Colts knew what they were doing-maybe we should pay attention.