The whirlwind surrounding Peyton Manning’s decision of where he will finish out his career is the buzz of the Internet. As a life-long Broncos fan, this has been exciting. I want Peyton Manning on my team. Period. But I’ve noticed a lot of Broncos fans are against this move, citing reasons like Manning’s recent injuries and surgeries and concerns about the short-term-ness of this deal. These are valid worries, but I disagree they are enough to outweigh the positives. Additionally, there are a lot of people who are chained to the Tebow Train. Then I heard Mark Hochman’s comments, saying the “fanbase has spoken”. Manning shouldn’t come to Denver because this is Tebow Town. I had to put my two cents out there.
Before I go on, let me tell you where I stand on Tebow. I like him. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, an incredible athlete who works hard. However, and you can comb through my Facebook statuses from the past, I was never drinking the Tebow Kool-aid. As I sat in the South Stands of Mile High during the season opener against the Raiders last fall, our offensive line failing over and over again, poor Kyle Orton couldn’t do anything to move the ball. The crowd starting chanting, “Tebow”, and I just shook my head. I believe my status the next morning was, “You can chant ‘Tebow’ all night long, but until the offensive line starts doing their job, it doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball.” I had been underwhelmed by Tebow. I knew he had the potential, but because of his inability to throw the long ball in what is unquestionably a passing league, I felt he needed more time to develop. When the Broncos’ front office bowed to the pressure of the fans and made Tebow the starter, I disagreed. I felt bad for Kyle Orton (still do), and I didn’t think it was the right decision for the team. And let’s not forget the near-literal heart attack the fans would go through every single week, watching Tebow scurry around like a frightened rabbit, and breathing a sigh of relief when he pulled some miracle win out in the last five minutes. It was an exciting end to the season and part of me believed in the magic, but after the pummeling loss to the Patriots (again), it was evident: Tebow was not good enough to play against the true giants in the league.
Manning needs no introduction. Easily my favorite quarterback in the last ten years, one of the best in the history of the game, definitely the best reader of defenses at the line, incredible ability to play call based on those reads, over 4,000 yards a season, irrefutable future hall-of-famer…the pros are innumerable. Many comments are saying they want a franchise quarterback, and I get that. We haven’t had a quarterback for longer than four seasons since ’99. We’re waiting for our Elway. But Manning is more than just a quarterback. He’s a mentor, a role model, a teacher, a coach, a good guy just based on his actions – every player on the team will benefit from his knowledge, experience and passion. I also believe he will draw talent to him. Our offensive line is no doubt going to get an overhaul if he is on our team. He wants protection and he will get it. Manning, to me, seems like the kind of player who commands respect without asking for it. With our players getting DUIs and busted for performance enhancing drugs, a role model and steadfast leader is what the team needs. Even if Manning can’t get his arm to 100 percent, at 75 percent he is better than Tebow. At 50 percent, he is better than Tebow. But I’m hoping we’ll keep Tebow on the team. His biggest weakness is the passing game, and what better opportunity for him than to learn from the best. And when the door opens for you to get the best, you go for it.
When push comes to shove, I trust John Elway. He would not pursue Manning if it wasn’t the right decision for the team. Pat Bowlen was clear: He wants Super Bowls. Not in five years. NOW. And they believe Peyton Manning can get them there. And I agree. I’m drinking the Manning Kool-aid, and it is delicious.