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Peyton Manning: How NFL Teams' Disturbing Obsession Alienated QB

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 20:  Quarterback Peyton Manning poses with his uniform after the news conference announcing his contract with the Denver Broncos in the team meeting room at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on March 20, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, entering his 15th NFL season, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012, where he had played his whole career. It has been reported that Manning will sign a five-year, $96 million offer.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2012

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. 

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated t
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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. 

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