John Elway is regarded as on of the NFL's All-Time Greats. He brought Denver its only two Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. He kept fan-favorite Tim Tebow around and even supported him last season even though he didn't draft him. Now, he has done another brilliant move: He brought Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos.
Adding Peyton Manning to an NFL roster is almost unfair. Adding him to a team that already has a strong defense is definitely unfair. Philip Rivers must be banging his head against a wall somewhere.
We know Manning's neck injury issues. We also know what kind of game-changer he is when healthy. He could have chosen other teams to play for, some better equipped to win. How did John Elway convince Manning that Denver was the right place? Peyton has played 11 career games in sub-40 degree temperatures and is 6-5.
Elway most likely played to the quarterback in Manning, talking to him from a guy who was in a similar position when he was playing. Elway won his two Super Bowls after age 35, so he does know a thing or two about winning in your 30s. He also has first-hand experience as a QB over 35, so he can help get Manning what he needs to win. I think Elway was the X-factor in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, and only the Denver Broncos have him.
How successful will the Broncos be on 2012?
How many more wins is Peyton Manning worth?
The Broncos backed into the playoffs last season, finishing with an 8-8 record. I think in the weaker AFC West division, the Broncos can expect three to four more wins in 2012, giving them 11 or 12 wins. That total should lock up the division for them, and then we will really see why Manning is in Denver: To win Super Bowls. Plural.
Elway will need to go do something about the offensive line. There have been talks about signing Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark and several other former Colts' players. Manning will likely be doing the same things he did in Indianapolis in a Broncos uniform. The team will adapt to a hurry-up offense where Manning will be calling the majority of plays from the line of scrimmage. We will see how healed Manning is pretty quickly, playing in 15 outdoor games in 2012 for Denver.
If he is healthy, this is a home run from Elway. If he is not, and goes down in the first few games, he might just be run out of town. City's love their sports heroes of yesteryear to try their hand at running their favorite franchises until things go South.
Elway saw his chance to dramatically improve his team, and he took it. The Broncos should be contenders again in 2012 and Denver will have Mr. Elway to thank for bringing them another Hall of Fame quarterback.