That’s it? We find out about Peyton Manning’s career plans from an ESPN report? Does Manning not understand how these things should be handled? You’re supposed to approach ESPN and tell them you want an hour of prime time to make your announcement.
Then you surround yourself with a bunch of wide-eyed, adoring props, er, kids. You don’t bother telling the team you spent your whole career with up to that point, who was still pursuing you, of your plans. You just announce your intentions after several minutes of small talk with a questioner.
The next day, you hold a championship-style victory celebration, making sure to include only those teammates that are A-Listers like yourself.
Apparently, Peyton Manning is different. He held a press conference in Indianapolis after the Colts decided to cut him. Peyton took the time to thank the franchise and his fans. He even got choked up.
Anyway, Peyton Manning is now a Denver Bronco. A few thoughts:
1. John Elway, whose opinion on quarterbacks should be valued above anyone else’s in Denver, knows that Tim Tebow is never going to be anything more than a curiosity. Tebow may be able to pull some rabbits out of a hat, but no team is winning a Super Bowl with a quarterback who needs constant hand holding.
2. Manning will now lead an offense against AFC West opponents whose 2011 pass defenses ran the gamut from good (Kansas City: 6th out of 32 NFL teams) to average (San Diego: 13th) to bad (Oakland: 27th). Denver’s team defense, meanwhile, ranked 20th and it’s offense ranked 23rd.
3. Expect to hear a lot more about Broncos receivers/tight ends Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Daniel Fells. Unless Andrew Luck, Peyton’s presumed replacement in Indianapolis, is spectacular, you will hear a lot less of Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark (who is unsigned), and even center Jeff Saturday. Former Colt Pierre Garcon, meanwhile, could be Robert Griffin III’s star receiver in Washington.
4. Peyton Manning is 3-1 lifetime in Denver. It’s a small sample, but perhaps enough to quell any thoughts that Manning might struggle in the thin mile high air.
5. The average high temperatures in Denver from September through January are 78, 66, 54, 46 and 47. The average low temperatures for those same months are 44, 33, 23, 16 and 16.
6. Besides the eight games at Invesco Field, Manning has the three division contests in Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego, plus games in Cleveland, New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. That’s one game indoors, and likely good weather regardless of the date, in Oakland, San Diego, and Tampa Bay.
7. For his career, Manning is 7-1 against Kansas City, including 2-0 in the playoffs. He is 3-2 against Oakland, and 3-6 against San Diego, including 0-2 in the postseason.
9. Peyton Manning and Brady are now in the same division. Brady Quinn, that is, the former Bronco who signed with Kansas City.
10. Manning goes from the Colts (a young horse) to the Broncos (an untamed horse), and from a horseshoe on his helmet to a horse’s head.
Broncos fans are so hungry for a winner, they practically deified an average Tim Tebow. Imagine what they'll do if Peyton Manning plays like his old self.