Last winter's "Tebow-ing" in the Mile High City has quickly morphed into this spring's "Manning-ing."
Yesterday, highly coveted quarterback Peyton Manning, arguably the most sought after free agent in NFL history, announced through his agent Tom Condon that he will sign with the Denver Broncos. The four-time NFL MVP's decision to join the Broncos will bolster a potentially powerful Denver offense that displayed intermittent moments of moderate success last season under exciting, but erratic QB Tim Tebow.
In spite of the widespread "Tebow-mania" celebrated in Denver during the Broncos' unlikely run into last season's playoffs, team executive and Hall of Famer John Elway never seemed sold on the former Heisman Trophy-winning Tebow as his quarterback of the future. Elway's "Tebow-ing" doubt has forced him to believe in "Manning-ing" certainty.
By signing Manning, Elway demonstrates that the team's future is now by placing the ball in the hands of the soon to be 36-year-old former Indianapolis Colt, who is expected to sign a five-year deal today worth a purported $95 million.
Elway's calculated coup in wooing the prized quarterback, who missed all of last season due to a neck injury, should yield its desired result. With Manning as their quarterback, the Colts averaged a 12-4 record each year from 2001-2010 and advanced to two Super Bowls, winning one. In addition, Manning's incomparable leadership should immediately position Denver as a top 2013 Super Bowl contender.
However, where the Manning signing leaves Tebow will remain to be seen. Denver could further empower Manning by utilizing Tebow's punishing running ability as a diverse H-back weapon in the eagerly anticipated high-octane Manning offense. Or, Tebow could arm Elway with an attractive trade chip to deal the devout Christian to an offensively-minded creative coach like Bill Belichick, who usually finds a way to expertly employ other teams' cast-offs or expendable players.
Regardless of what happens with Tebow, the Broncos have immediately become a better team. While Tebow's unprecedented Jeremy Lin-type success from last season will only serve as a reminder of how fleeting fame can be, the Manning acquisition certainly doesn't doesn't mean we've heard or seen the last of Tebow.
However, as Manning masterfully manages the Broncos hurry-up offense in the Mile High City, expect defensive players from the opposing team to drop to their knees from exhaustion, not exactly "Tebow-ing" but rather praying that Tim Tebow, and not Peyton Manning, were still playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
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MIKE—aka Mike Raffone—thee ultimate talking head on sports!