IF he’s able to fully recover from his numerous neck surgeries to compete at former Pro Bowl levels
IF he clicks with first, his new tight ends, and subsequently, his dropsy-prone wide receivers
IF the Broncos offensive line is able to protect him enough so he remains upright a full season
IF the Broncos running game can pick up where it left off last season
IF the defense can again stand on their heads when the offense inevitably stalls, to keep them in games
Hey, I’ve got more ifs, but you get the picture: that’s A LOT of IFs!
With draft day right around the corner, hittingthesweetspot has to take a swing at the Broncos recent Hall of Fame QB acquisition. Don’t get me wrong—they had to take a shot, and with No. 18 needing to pass annual physicals before each year of the contract kicks in monetarily, the Broncos protected themselves, and also permitted the team to select a QB for development, with one of their draft picks—something Mr. Elway was planning to do until the gent whose last name begins with a “T” had his buzzworthy season. But, with Elway and Co. making a run at Manning, you knew Mr. T’s days in Denver were all but done, especially once Manning was signed, sealed and delivered. Such was the case.
Peyton was drawn to Denver and he made the right choice for most of the right reasons: Denver is a great place to raise a family, it’s a Broncos town through and through despite the presence of all three other major sports teams and it’s not out of the realm of logic and possibility that our Bronx can win the AFC Worst outright—they might have done it even had Mr. T not gone to the Jets.
Another thing that probably went into Manning’s thought process was that Elway himself was able to win Super Bowls his last two years in the league at the ripe old ages of 37 and 38, respectively. I could see him thinking, “Lightning CAN strike twice!” Perhaps it can, but those were different Broncos teams, with all of the other pieces in place for Elway to take home the Lombardi trophy in back-to-back seasons, before riding off into the sunset.
I hope I’m wrong, but football is a game of young warriors, and aging, albeit Hall of Fame caliber QBs, who have spent their entire careers in one city, historically have not fared well upon moving to new teams—see Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and more recently Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb (until leaving Philadelphia, could be argued his career stats were on track for Canton consideration) and Kurt Warner (Favre and Warner having some success with the Vikings and Cardinals, respectively, but not as much as their glory days with the Packers and Rams, respectively).
The Broncos are gambling Manning is worth the risk, and should it not work out, they will be grooming and playing Elway’s choice of QB, not Mr. T from the pre-Elway regime, and as Mr. T is off in his new life as the most buzzworthy second string QB in the history of Big Apple football, we in the Mile High City are left to wonder, “What if?”