Peyton Manning: How He Made Denver Broncos a Prime Destination in the NFL
Denver has been a great football town ever since the team rose to success in the late 70s, and that winning tradition continued throughout the 90s during the Elway era.
However, post-Elway, the Broncos have struggled. Over the last decade, the Broncos have made the postseason four times but have never been a true championship contender, as they got blown out in the first round in three of those four appearances by Peyton Manning.
Most recently, the Broncos endured Hurricane McDaniels, where newly hired 34-year-old head coach Josh McDaniels gutted the promising young team in Denver and sunk the Broncos into the depths of the NFL.
However, in a way, the days of Elway have returned. As acting executive vice president of football operations, Elway has built this new Broncos team from the bottom up, starting with proven head coach John Fox.
Fox is a defensive-minded coach who runs a much more traditional system—one similar to the one the Broncos ran during their glory days. However, hiring Fox was the first step in a long journey.
The Broncos had a lot of good pieces in place after the 2011 season, especially after witnessing Von Miller’s play as a rookie.
However, the Broncos would remain a project until Elway landed his quarterback. Of course, now that he was able to sign Peyton Manning this offseason, the Broncos have a real chance of winning a Super Bowl in the near future and have recently become a prime destination in the NFL.
Peyton Manning changes everything, and there’s no better proof of that than what happened to the Colts in 2011. Manning turns his receivers and tight ends into All-Stars with his accuracy, opens up running lanes for his backs with his passing prowess and allows his defense to play aggressively by running an incredibly effective offense.
Also, his immense knowledge of the game, legendary work ethic, selfless leadership and endless love of the game bring a level of accountability to an entire franchise.
After a season in which the team’s starting quarterback completed 126 passes for 1,729 yards in 12 games, Broncos fans will be going crazy in 2012. Peyton will bring a level of excitement to Mile High that hasn’t been seen in a long time and will consequently bring a lot of attention to Denver, from both the media and the players.
Because of all this, the front office had a very productive offseason this past year, and look to have many more in future.
It’s an exciting time for this franchise, and players simply want to be a part of it. After signing Peyton Manning, the Broncos were able to sign Tracy Porter from the Saints (who ironically was the one who picked off Peyton’s pass and sealed the win for the Saints in the Super Bowl XLIV), Drayton Florence, Jacob Tamme, Andre Caldwell and Brandon Stokley.
I doubt very many (if any) of these players would have been interested in playing in Denver if Peyton was not under center.
Even though Peyton will likely play for only two or three more years, he changes the attitude and culture of a Broncos franchise at just the right time.
While veterans like Champ Bailey, Willis McGahee, Ty Warren and Brandon Stokley give this team the leadership and experience necessary to compete for a championship right now, there is still much promising young talent on the field. The Broncos will look for Peyton Manning to mentor these young kids and build a foundation for years to come in Denver.
With the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Ryan Clady, Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, Tracy Porter, Quinton Carter, Rahim Moore and draft picks Brock Oswiler and Ronnie Hillman, Peyton Manning’s tutelage will be invaluable to this team in the future.
Getting to pick Manning’s brain as well as to play with (or against) him on an everyday basis will develop these young players in a hurry. In addition, assuming the Broncos make the playoffs, the experience these young players will gain over the next few years gives Denver a platform from which to perform at a high level even after Peyton has retired, making it all the more appealing to free agents in the future.
Denver would be a great spot for any player to land in. There is a great front office with Pat Bowlen and John Elway, a fantastic coaching staff with John Fox, Jack Del Rio and Mike McCoy, and there is a ton of young talent on the field.
If this experiment with Manning is successful, Denver could be a very popular spot in the NFL, and with Elway at the helm, look for the Broncos to be very active in their search to put together a championship-caliber team.
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