I for am thankful the coverage on ESPN can stop now. Watching the NFL Network's coverage before today's press conference got underway I also realized that they were talking about Peyton Manning even more than ESPN did. And that's saying something.
With all that said it truly has been a fascinating process to watch. Right from the beginning when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay let Peyton Manning go out on his terms. Now you can argue whether or not they both still like each other is one thing, but Irsay showed enough respect for Peyton to let him go out by thanking the city and its fans.
During the free agent tour when he was immediately wooed by Denver, then the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. There was a sense that only a few would be able to sign him. Not for financial reasons, but because Peyton would be sizing them up.
I thought right from the beginning that every team except the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers would at least whisper amongst themselves about bringing in Peyton Manning. The reason why I picked those four teams is because they have four of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL right now with Peyton Manning.
Now it isn't wrong for those other twenty seven teams (not including Indianapolis) to consider signing Peyton Manning. But when the choices came to either Denver, Miami or Arizona. All of a sudden Tennessee and San Francisco jumped into the mix. Everyone seemed surprised that more teams would jump into the mix in an attempt to put more hype into their coverage.
Slowly, but surely Peyton said thanks, but not thanks to Arizona and Miami once the Titans and 49ers got involved. Everyone, including myself knew that San Francisco had the better team than Denver or Tennessee. But thinking about it I figured the 49ers weren't a possibility for Peyton.
Why? I believe it would be too much pressure for him. They were on game away from reaching the Super Bowl last year. The same reason can be said for why he didn't choose Tennessee. After all he is a football God in that state. Remember he did play for the University of Tennessee before playing in the NFL. If he chose San Francisco or Tennessee, the pressure to win now would have been too great.
Looking at Denver minus the Tim Tebow media coverage last year they were flying under the radar. You put Peyton Manning in the mix in a winnable AFC West with Oakland, San Diego and Kansas City. It's a much easier path to win.
Former Broncos QB John Elway, now executive VP of football operations for them had an easy time I'm sure convincing Peyton to come to Denver. Yes, it doesn't look good to the fans who wanted Tim Tebow to start, but how often do you get the chance to bring in a Peyton Manning? The answer is only once.
They still have some work to do. Mainly putting together enough receivers for Peyton to throw to and more importantly an offensive line that will protect him. In the meantime the Broncos are the talk of the free agent frenzy, but construction is still under way at Mile High.