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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Denver Broncos can embrace a new era of football under Peyton Manning

This week, the city of Denver was hit with the biggest news since John Denver purportedly founded the city (my grade school had massive cutbacks on reputable history textbooks). Or, at least since Brady Quinn agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs. Peyton Manning is coming to town. If that piece of information has still yet to settle in for Denverites, I could make a “Peyton Place” reference by throwing in Mia Farrow’s name, but that would just be bad for business.

This story has consequently become the worst news to hit locales like Oakland, Kansas City, and San Diego since, well, Week 1 of each recent football season. The Broncos’ signing of Peyton Manning brings to an end a free agent saga in the vein of an NFL version of “The Bachelor.” John Fox received the rose, while Mike Munchak and Jim Harbaugh will pretend they were unmoved by the decision.

On Tuesday, it was made official. Peyton Manning OK’d the deal for five years and $96 million, as if such an amount of money is ever simply “OK’d” by anyone. Manning’s signing would have set up a quarterback controversy of epic proportions had Tim Tebow apparently not been traded to the New York Jets on Wednesday. If you believe that last sentence, I have a list of magazine subscriptions to sell that will have you a step closer to untold riches delivered by an unwanted visitor holding a giant novelty check and for some reason, balloons (as if just receiving the check would infuriate the lucky winner).

Tebow was the story for the Broncos last year. His penchant for rallies. His transcendent appeal. His piety. Despite an 8-8 record and a playoff appearance, the man upstairs clearly wanted a change. John Elway, they say, seems to know something about quarterbacks after all …

It had looked like Jacksonville or Miami might be the next site to be thrown a Tebown. That was assuming Jacksonville still had a professional football team playing within its city limits. Jaguars games have been blacked out so often it’s probably starting to affect the memory of the lingering fan base, many of whom probably find imbibing as a more resourceful and less painful way to do so on Sunday afternoons. Miami also was in the running. Perhaps Tebow could have given Jonah a run for his money by being swallowed up the Dolphins.

Word came down Wednesday that Tim was being traded to the New York Jets, giving him a shot at being the second coming of, wait for it, Ken O’Brien. However, there was a hold-up in the trade, front office personnel reading the fine print about as closely before pulling the trigger on the deal as many people these days read the Good Book.

Luckily, Denver is home to a US mint because it may need to start printing Peyton’s visage on the currency to justify the investment. His choice of the Broncos leads jilted fan bases to sort out why he chose that team and not San Francisco or Tennessee. Maybe it had to do with his fascination with horses. He spent 14 years as a Colt, so becoming a Bronco could not have been that tough. Perhaps it was the atmosphere and the city’s pristine beauty that wooed the future Hall of Famer. For all I know, it could also mean that he has an affinity for the Joe Walsh song, “Rocky Mountain Way,” and likes to drink Coors. I don’t recall the word “expert” ever being affiliated with my position.

Over the last 12 months, prior to the beginning of the NFL’s free agent signing period, Peyton Manning’s most notable accomplishment was for being on the cover of Spondylodesis Monthly, his spinal fusion surgery sounding as painful and unpleasant as it is hard to pronounce.

Ostensibly the only thing more objectionable than having to go through such a procedure was bearing witness to the herniation that was the 2011 Colts. Without a gunslinger in the pocket, the team used a Painter. And, the results showed. The final result of a 16-game season that was about as much a joy as waiting in the office of an orthopedist while trying to convince other patrons that you’re an intellectual by laughing at the New Yorker cartoons even though you have no idea what the heck is going on. (Sorry, that was a personal experience.) Nevertheless, it might have been the first instance of a person’s lumbar region being the sole reason for a franchise’s direction heading south for the fall. Either way, the Colts better make sure Andrew Luck doesn’t slip on a Tic-Tac between now and the start of OTAs this summer.

Everyone is happy now. The Broncos have what they hope will be the next guy to bring them their first Vince Lombardi Trophy since Elway saddled up and rode off into the front office. The Colts will be drafting their guy just as soon as Mel Kiper is finished unloading his fifth bottle of hair spray. It truly is a good thing, too, since there really has not been a whole lot of talk about Manning lately. No DirecTV commercials or SNL appearances for Peyton. Well, actually, there was a blurb about Peyton during this year’s Super Bowl. It came sometime during the conclusion of the game when Peyton was being bypassed for most titles won. You might have heard of him. He had a career year this past season. Guy goes by the name Eli.

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