Peter King has definitely gotten this one right.
While football fans will want to make this year's Broncos-Patriots showdown in Mile High another Peyton Manning v. Tom Brady contest, the reality is that it is going to be Brady versus the Broncos defense.
A current No. 1 defense at that.
Come Nov. 29, the world will be hyping Brady versus Manning, perhaps for the last time. But Elway knows it's more Brady versus Talib/Harris/Roby. That's what the architect of the Broncos has done to a storied rivalry, and you won't hear Manning complaining about it. For once, Manning knows he doesn't have to score in the thirties every week to have a good chance to win big games.
Interviewing Broncos GM John Elway, King highlights the surprising fact that one of the greatest offensive players of all time has designed a defensive powerhouse in the 2015 Broncos.
Then again, it shouldn't be surprising at all.
"...It might surprise you, but I have a defensive base," Elway told King on Tuesday. "My first 10 years in the league with [coach] Dan Reeves, we were very good on defense, first with Joe Collier as defensive coordinator, and then with Wade Phillips."
And when you consider Elway's moves as GM since coming to Dove Valley five years ago, that "defensive base" is clear.
- Picked premiere edge rusher Von Miller as his No. 1 draftee in 2011 and bulldog Shane Ray in 2015
- Signed one of the NFL's all-time sack leaders DeMarcus Ware in free agency in 2014
- Saw promise in undrafted free agent Chris Harris Jr. in 2011 and then re-signed "the best corner in the NFL" to a long-term contract last December, pulling off one of the greater contract coups in the NFL.
- Pulled together perhaps the best secondary in the NFL that includes 2014 draft pick Bradley Roby, free agency pickup Aqib Talib and Harris Jr. at cornerback along with free agency additions at safety T.J. Ward in 2014 and Darian Stewart in 2015.
- Drafted or signed key players who are shaping up to be big-time playmakers - Brandon Marshall, Antonio Smith, Malik Jackson, Sylvester Williams, Shaquil Barrett
Though "the mastermind of Elway" is most-often associated with bringing Manning to Denver to rejuvenate a Hall-of-Fame quarterback's career under the mentorship of another Hall-of-Fame QB, King is spot on with his assessment that Elway "is a pretty good architect" when looking at this Orange Crush 2.0.
And bringing Wade Phillips back on board as defensive coordinator was perhaps Elway's best move so far, ensuring this Broncos defense gets the most out of its talented players.
"I guess my philosophy came watching how we were set up defense first when I played. Run the ball next, then the passing game complemented that," Elway said. "I wanted to be good on defense, and then I wanted to be as talented as I could be on offense. The way I saw it, if you're good on defense, you always have a chance."
How prophetic that has been this season.