Peyton Manning is My Quarterback. What Will Happen?

The Broncos have started 11 quarterbacks since their Super Bowl victory in 1999. The search for a franchise quarterback to replace Elway has been aggravating. A guy who led the Broncos to five Super Bowls (two of them victories; compiled a career record of 148-82-1 (14-7 record in the playoffs); and, most importantly, made an appearance on the computer game Backyard Football 1999 (This is what truly defines a career, obviously. Of course, Randall Cunningham appeared on that game too.).

The Broncos have not had a video game worthy quarterback since Elway retired. Sure, there was one year (I think in 2006?) where Jake Plummer was a Madden god, but it was still Jake Plummer for crying out loud. Maybe Cutler could have developed into a franchise guy, but Josh McDaniels and his outrageous ego destroyed that possibility. Now, in 2012, John Elway himself has helped woo a 36 year old quarterback who can change the Mile High City Franchise: Peyton Manning.

I do not want to get into the specifics of Manning’s impact on the Broncos offense. The fact is, their passing offense was one of the worst in the league last year, and Manning is one of the best quarterback’s of all time and his performance will statistically outperform Tebow no matter what. The Broncos have cap flexibility, so his contract (5 years, $96 million with about $50 million guaranteed and performance based incentives), although frightening on the surface, will not be crippling if he gets hit with a cheap shot by James Harrison and snaps his neck (always a possibility).

However, the neck injuries are worrisome. He has had four neck surgeries in the past two years, he is 36 years old and his addition will cause the removal of a cultural icon: Lord Tebow. Tebow did go 7-4 and he led the team to an improbable overtime victory over the Steelers. That game, and last season overall, will go down in history as one of the most incredible in Bronco history. Sadly for Tebow, you cannot win a Super Bowl without being able to pass the ball consistently. You can win a Super Bowl with Manning, and the Broncos had to make this move because of these facts.

I envision this Manning acquisition traveling in one of the following two directions.

Broncos Ride to the Promised Land 

Manning transforms the Broncos passing offense into one of the most efficient in the league. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker become the Denver version of Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie and the Broncos cruise to five playoff appearances in the next five years which includes a Super Bowl victory or two. Tebow is traded to Jacksonville, a sorry place where even he cannot conjure a miracle. Elway does not get ridiculed for jettisoning Tebow and he also possess some credit for every single Super Bowl in Broncos history. Denver becomes one of the most revered franchises in the NFL.

Tebow Exacts Revenge

Manning injures his neck on the first snap of the AFC championship game against the Jaguars after tripping over himself. The Jaguars defeat the Broncos on the back of Tebow and he leads them to their first Super Bowl victory. Manning subsequently retires, his jersey becomes akin to a Joe Montana Chiefs jersey, and the Broncos spiral into a franchise funk for 18 years. Jacksonville actually fills their stadium for fifteen years straight (Now THAT would be a miracle) while Tebow becomes one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. During Tebow’s career, he goes undefeated against the Broncos and he thanks Elway for the opportunity to play for the Jaguars. The entire city of Denver explodes.

If we learned anything from last season, betting against Tebow is not a good idea. As a Broncos fan, I hope the second scenario does not occur…but would you really be surprised?

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