Manning in, Tebow out in Denver
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 00:03
Just 14 months after taking on the title of Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos, John Elway has already made a major splash on the free agent scene. With the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans also in the picture, Elway did all he could do to ensure he would sign four-time Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning. He finally succeeded, signing Manning to a five-year, $96 million dollar contract.
“He’s a guy that raises all boats,” Elway said regarding Manning. “He’s already made (his teammates) better, and they haven’t met him yet just because of the type of person he is, his reputation and what he’s done in this league.”
Manning, arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game, has not played a relevant snap of football in over a year. He missed all of the 2011 season with a neck injury that has required multiple surgeries and rehabilitation. The neck injury, along with his $28 million dollar bonus, was too much of a risk for his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, to keep him around in the future. With Indianapolis receiving the number one pick in the NFL draft come April, they are expected to take former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Manning is a future Hall of Famer. He ranks top five among quarterbacks in every relevant statistical category in his career in NFL history. He is a Super Bowl champion, and he has been elected to the Pro Bowl eleven times in his thirteen active seasons. He was among the highest paid players in all of professional sports when he left Indianapolis, and many people argued that he still was not paid enough. His presence on the field is crucial for any offense he leads.
Here is the twist: Denver already had a quarterback in Tim Tebow. While he is not a Super Bowl winner, Pro Bowler or overall number one draft pick, the third year player does have similar comparisons to a certain Bronco executive. Tebow led Denver to one of their two playoff wins since Elway won a Super Bowl in the late 1990s. Tebow has also put up very similar statistics in his first two seasons when comparing his to Elway’s first few seasons. The similarities are scary between the two.
But, in comes Manning. Some experts argue that this is just Elway’s was of getting rid of Tebow and avoiding the Tebowmania craze that has hit Denver. It is no secret that Elway did not support Tebow’s style of play, nor did he ever support him throwing the ball. With the two clashing too much, it was rumored that Tebow was placed on the trading block.
Wednesday morning, it was announced Tebow had been traded from the Broncos to the New York Jets. Tebow had told Elway that he wanted to be traded to Jacksonville to play in front of his hometown team and college fan base. However, in the end, it was a business decision for Elway, and the trade to New York was finished when New York offered a fourth round draft pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
So with that, the Manning era in Denver begins. When it will end no one can say for sure. The five-year contract runs up when he is 41, but the major question is if his neck will hold up to an NFL season.
As uncertain as Manning’s future in Denver is, Tebow’s future in New York is even more questionable. He will start training camp as the number two quarterback behind Mark Sanchez, who has been criticized recently for his inability to win under pressure.
So, Manning goes to Denver, and Tebow goes to New York all in one week. Let’s hope the rest of the off-season provides this much entertainment.