Last thing I heard before I just now stepped out of my car, “This is the biggest NFL story ever.” That’s Brian Baldinger. Hyperbole? Are we talking sheer volume of coverage, because Peyton to Denver could win that contest. One of the biggest free agents ever picking his team and simultaneously throwing into doubt the future of one of the NFL’s most polarizing players. Why Denver and what about Tebow? Just some quick thoughts…
1. I guess Peyton was serious about not playing in the NFC. The Manning Bowl must be preserved as a possibility at all costs. The most attractive location to a casual observer appeared to be San Francisco. Stacked defense, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and some new, if not explosive talent, at wide receiver. But from the start, Peyton seemed hesitant to switch conferences and perhaps that gave Denver the upper hand.
2. Denver was probably the 2nd best option. Another good defense, but aside from Demaryius Thomas, there isn’t a lot of stand out help for Peyton on the offensive side of the ball. You’d have to think that Denver will be looking to upgrade there –though the majority of free agent wide receivers have come off the board. Perhaps a draft day move.
3. How much does John Elway have to do with this? Is there a special connection between Hall of Fame caliber QBs that we don’t understand? Does Elway know what Peyton wants to hear? Does Peyton respect Elway to the point it gave Denver any leg up in the negotiations?
4. Did the overall strength of the NFC play a role? Not only does Eli call the NFC home, but you’ve also got Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees some teams on the rise (Detroit), some other wild-card situations (Philly, Dallas), perhaps the AFC just looks like the easier place to play? Manning goes into the AFC West where his main QB competition is Philip Rivers and the constantly eroding core of talent around him.
5. One thing interesting about this deal is that it will be evaluated as if Peyton is his old self until he proves otherwise. I guess he’s built up that level of credibility, but I haven’t heard much talk about what will happen if Peyton isn’t as good as he once was–or even close. I don’t think this move was quite as big a lay-up as people are making it out to be for the teams that were pursuing him. Where is Denver if Manning suffers another injury?
6. The expectation will be that Tebow and Manning cannot coexist. I imagine Denver will try to trade Tebow, but the most logical landing spot, Jacksonville, has just acquired the laser-armed Chad Henne. Do they put Tebow into that mix with Henne and Gabbert? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, as does keeping Tebow in Denver where he still has a passionate following. Tebow could end up being released, and then who knows? Canada?
7. I don’t think this is a move that shifts the power in the league as much as it could have, again assuming Manning is close to his old self. Some would say that Denver was an 8-8 team with Tebow last year and he was on the whole–lacking in several areas. But, he also pulled several wins from out of nowhere, the team might have been more like a 5-win, or 6-win team. And, despite their playoff win, it was their exit that showed where they are in relationship to the best teams in their conference. Can Peyton possibly make up that big a difference? I don’t think so.
Feel free to share your Peyton/Tebow thoughts.
*To those who experienced any trouble commenting at the end of the last week, the issue should be resolved and anonymous commenting, or commenting without an email should no longer be a problem. Let me know if that is not the case.