The more aggressively teams tried to land Peyton Mannig, the further they pushed him away. Manning didn't want to be overwhelmed with glitz, glamour and money.
He wanted to feel comfortable. He wanted to know that he was going to a place where there were people he could identify with and a place where he thought his input would be heard.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King offered up an example that highlights how a team's vigor to entice Manning could be their instant undoing.
Manning got a call informing him that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had flown, unannounced, with Seattle G.M. John Schneider to the airport in Englewood. Carroll would do whatever Manning wanted—talk for a while in Denver or on the plane to Arizona, his next visit, or fly him to Seattle for a lengthier discussion.
Pete Carroll has proven he is a recruiter with few equals, but the Seahawks never got their meeting with Manning.
The four-time NFL MVP wanted a certain amount of space to make this decision. He was being crushed by the media attention that came with his unprecedented venture into free agency. He was still struggling coming to terms with the fact that he was a free agent at all, and he needed to clear his head to make a decision.
He didn't need teams hounding him at every turn. No team understood this better than the Denver Broncos, and that is exactly why he signed with them.
Denver didn't offer the same dominant roster as the San Francisco 49ers. They didn't offer the weather of Miami. They didn't offer the weather and all-world receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, like the Arizona Cardinals.
What they did offer was someone who was in a position to understand what he was going through and took the time to do it. John Elway can relate to Peyton Manning like few people on this planet can.
So as the two met, Elway didn't go for fireworks and sales pitches. As King reported, he went with understanding.
"There's got to be a dagger in your gut right now," Elway told Manning. "Take your time. Be thorough. Make the right decision, whether it's us or someone else."
The Broncos did what they could to impress Manning, and then they left him alone to make a decision. It worked.