Peyton Manning: Will He Match John Elway's Legacy?

Derek CrouseContributor IIIMarch 20, 2012

The Denver legacy is being handed down to Peyton
The Denver legacy is being handed down to PeytonJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

John Elway knows about being in the twilight of his career and wanting more. Now that he is in the role of the Denver Broncos president, Elway knows exactly what Peyton Manning is currently going through.

People constantly question if Manning is the best quarterback of all-time. John had those same questions thrown at him during his career, but Superbowl wins seem to quiet the naysayers. Even though Manning got a ring, many experts question the win because it was against the Chicago Bears, who had Rex Grossman behind center.

With the many loses the Colts had in the playoffs against elite quarterbacks, some are not willing to give credit to the legend of the active quarterback.

Now Peyton has a new lease on life. After multiple neck surgeries, rumors of never playing again and Jim Irsay letting him go, he will have fans in Denver. They know a thing or two about legendary quarterback play in the Mile High City.

Ever since Elway retired, people have been clamoring for anything close to his stature. Ironically, the Colts originally drafted Elway, but Jim Irsay’s father traded him to the Broncos in the 1983 NFL draft.

The Colts' franchise was pretty lackluster until Manning came to them in 1998. While we can all look back to what Manning was, what is he now?

What separates most quarterbacks from the talent of Manning is the mental aspect. Ryan Leaf and JeMarcus Russell could throw the ball 80 yards in their sleep, however they lacked that cerebral trait of the elite QBs. Chemistry with receivers because of time spent in the off-season and dedication year after year is why players like Manning succeed.

In Indianapolis, Manning was very involved in the offense. Some would even say that he was more important than the offensive coordinators later in Peyton’s career. Everybody knows how much Manning does with pre-snap reads and audibles.

There are many quarterbacks out there who don’t have the luxury of calling plays at the line. This is due, in fact, to the coaching staff as well as the player’s own acclamation of the playbook.


While Tim Tebow had to adapt to John Fox’s offense, Peyton could be flexible to any philosophy that comes his way.

Las Vegas has already put the Denver Broncos high on the totem pole. Before the signing of Peyton Manning, the Broncos' odds of winning the Super Bowl were 50-1. Now, they have skyrocketed to 10-1 odds. That alone should say a lot about the legend of Peyton already.

There is not another player in the league that could change the odds of team so dramatically even before a single game has been played.

The debate will rage on if Peyton is the greatest quarterback of all-time.

In the new era of the NFL where quarterbacks are protected like Fort Knox, the stats could be skewed from earlier eras. If Manning can bring Denver a title, the ghost of Elway’s legacy could be exorcised. Like Elway, Manning has the pieces around him to get to New Orleans in 2013.