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What if Peyton Manning didn’t choose the Broncos?

During SBNation’s week of “What Ifs” the MHR Radio Podcast wondered about this nightmare scenario.

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For SBNation’s week of “What ifs” Ian St. Clair and I ran over some interesting scenarios for the Denver Broncos on the MHR Radio Podcast (ApplePodcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher).

What if John Elway plays in Baltimore for the Colts? What if Jay Cutler isn’t traded by Josh McDaniels? The possibilities seem endless.

But ...

What if Peyton Manning never chose to play for the Broncos?

John Elway was hired in 2011, brought in John Fox to stabilize the franchise, and after a dismal 2010 season that saw Josh McDaniels fired, they were able to turn the team around and go 8-8, winning the AFC West, and giving Broncos Country one of the best moments in team history when Tim Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas in overtime of the AFC Wild Card game for a game-winning touchdown.

The race for Peyton Manning began as soon as he was released from the Colts after the 2011 season, and Elway made it his mission to convince the Sheriff to come to Denver.

If Elway had failed, the direction of the Broncos changes dramatically over the last eight seasons.

First, Tebow is likely the quarterback for at least one more season. For all of his faults, Tebow was an exciting player to watch in the last 4 minutes of a game. Perhaps his connection with Thomas would have blossomed into something formidable. As Fox and Elway built the defense, how likely was it that Tebow could have blossomed in his role as a starting QB in Denver?

Instead of trading out of the first round of the 2012 draft, does Elway target a QB like Brandon Weeden, which means no Derek Wolfe? Or does Brock Osweiler become the starter in his rookie year?

The No Fly Zone, the 2013 offense, Super Bowl 50, all never occur. How many other dominos that fell would have stayed standing if Manning chose to play somewhere else?

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