Future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning is returning from a year off rehabbing from neck surgery. The decision by the Indianapolis Colts to part ways with him in favor of No.1 pick Andrew Luck set off a chain reaction across the league. Teams came out of their skins to find a way to sign him.
The team that won out was the Denver Broncos, currently presided over by none other than John Elway, one of the game's greatest QBs. Elway swayed Peyton to shun such warm weather and indoor destinations (such as Miami and Arizona) for the mile-high life. But if you're Peyton Manning, why in the world would you make that choice after playing in a controlled environment for the past 14 years?
GFB contributor Matthew Cohen explores.....
OK – it's the dead of the offseason and I decided to vent on something that has been gnawing at me for some time. Peyton Manning, as we all know, signed with Denver. I was personally stunned at the time. I thought that San Francisco was the perfect choice and would have made them a juggernaut.
To repeat some background that we all know, Peyton Manning is 36 years old, at the end of his career and is coming of missing an entire year. He is generally considered one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the history of the game yet has only won 1 NFL championship. He has 2-3 years left where he will be a top QB (if he still can be based on his physical condition). You'd think he would want to go to the place that would give him the best chance to win.
Let's look at the numbers for 6 of the teams rumored to be interested in Peyton. First, the offensive line.
These are based on adjusted sack ratings. Granted, this is impacted by a bunch of things like the quality of the QB and receivers and the style of offense. Denver's offensive line is not rated well here and http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/02/22/ranking-the-2011-offensive-lines-part-1/ ranks them 30 out of 32 overall. In any case, we can quibble about these rankings but this hardly seems like a great reason to go to Denver.
Let's look at defense.
As expected, the Jets defense ranks very well as does San Francisco. Denver, not so much.
There were obviously a lot of factors that impacted Peyton's decision. Maybe he didn't want to compete with Eli in the NFC or in New York. Maybe the Jets locker room was a concern. Maybe Jim Harbaugh is perceived as inflexible.
All I'm saying is that from where I sit, Denver was an idiotic choice. I like John Fox and I think that they can build a good team in a few years but if I'm Peyton Manning and I'm on my last legs and looking for a team where I can win now, I go to the Jets or San Francisco. The Jets were a game from the Super Bowl 2 years in a row with one of the worst starting QBs in the league. The 49ers were a game from the Super Bowl last year with a QB who was pretty average before Harbaugh came. Harbaugh turned that team around in 1 year. He's a great coach. Heck, Tennessee has a great line and a good defense. That would have been a better choice than Denver.
I just don't get it.