As difficult as it was to see Peyton Manning and the Colts go their separate ways, it had to happen. The Colts are in complete "rebuild mode" and Manning is in the hunt for another championship ring. The only thing more difficult than 'competing' for titles with a depleted roster is 'rebuilding' a depleted roster while competing for titles. It'd take 2-to-3 years to get the Colts back to a championship level and Manning simply doesn't have time to waste.With at least three neck procedures in a 19-month time span and a 36th birthday coming (this weekend)...Manning had to join a team that gives him the best chance at another championship. Despite enticing offers elsewhere (Who wouldn't want Shoney's pancakes for life - had he chose to play in Tennessee???)...Manning decided to go to Denver.Look, I get it...the AFC West is a weak division, plus it's an opportunity for Manning to work closely with one of his boyhood idols: John Elway. Elway was one helluva quarterback...but he's also proven to be one helluva football executive in a year's time. The Broncos overachieved last season...playing inspired football after Tim Tebow was inserted into the starting lineup. I give John Fox and the Broncos coaching staff a ton of credit for adjusting their game plan to suit Tebow's strength's....and they rode that wave all the way to the Division Round of the NFL playoffs.Truth is, the Broncos' defense (while they do have some talent) was a below average defense a season ago (ranked 20th). They played out of their minds JUST to keep the game within striking distance for "Tebow Time." Yes, Manning will make the offense more efficient - but that doesn't necessarily mean that 'time-of-possession' will automatically jump in Denver's favor. Manning likes to go 'uptempo'...and (as we saw here in Indianapolis) if a (quick) drive fails, the Broncos defense will be on the field just as often as they were under Tebow.The Broncos running game will be under a lot of heat to take pressure off of Manning while he and his wide receivers get acquainted. Denver led the league in rushing yards last season...but much of that success was a byproduct of the guessing game defenses had to play with Tebow running the wildcat and the option (which many guys hadn't seen since their college days). Again, the best argument for Manning having a fairy-tale ending in Denver is the division. The Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders don't scare anyone...and if you win the division you get in the postseason....where ANYTHING can happen.However, the best destination for Manning was in San Francisco...with good 'ole Captain Comeback Jim Harbaugh.If you take away Tebow's rushing numbers, the Niners had more rushing yards than Denver last season. While the Broncos defense was ranked 20th last season, the Niners were ranked fourth...and gave up just 14.3 points per game.The Niners are also in a weak division (Arizona, Seattle, & St. Louis), and have added some nice offensive weapons to give an added boost to a team that was a few muffed punts away from getting to a Super Bowl. Could you imagine Manning in an offense with a running game that gained over 2,000 yards last season....plus receiving targets like Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, and Randy Moss?????According to reports, Manning turned down San Francisco because Harbaugh wouldn't want to relinquish any control of the offense (but Manning said in Tuesday's press conference that he wasn't bringing HIS offense to Denver...he was going to rely on the coaches and run what they lay out for him). Reports also surfaced that Manning turned down the Niners because he didn't want the pressure of a "Super Bowl" or "Bust" situation.Really?ANY team acquiring Manning would be in a "Super Bowl" or "Bust" situation. Even more so in Denver, where they decided to discard the "Chosen One" for Manning's services. If this move fails in Denver...don't you think Manning and the Broncos front office would take heat for giving him $96 million (if he plays each year of the contract)?? Bottom line: pressure would have followed him anywhere he went.What IS clear is Manning is in a place where he is most comfortable. He'll be able to pick the brain of a football legend...a man he has faith in to build a winner quickly in the Mile High City. It won't be easy (the Broncos have a brutal schedule in 2012)...but it's a challenge that we all know Manning relishes. While seeing #18 in navy blue and orange will take some getting used to....I'm sure we'll all wish him the best.........until the Colts and Broncos meet in 2013
Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.