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Peyton Manning: Why did he choose the Denver Broncos? (+video)

Peyton Manning doubtless has notebooks full of reasons for choosing the Denver Broncos. But a few key factors probably appealed most to Peyton Manning. 

By Staff writer / March 19, 2012

Peyton Manning, second from right at rear, walks across a football practice field with Denver Broncos executive John Elway, fourth from left, near Wallace Wade Stadium Friday at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Travis Long/The News & Observer/AP

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So, why Denver?

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After leaving the Indianapolis Colts this month, Peyton Manning literally had his pick of at least a half dozen teams and probably more. News reports Monday suggest he has chosen the Denver Broncos and that a deal is likely to be struck soon. 

It's safe to say that we will not really know the reasons for choosing Denver until Manning tells us. If this past year – and these past two weeks – have taught us anything, it is that Manning is, in fact, much more valuable and smarter than we thought. 

Manning an underachiever in the postseason? Take him away and the Colts can't win three games. 

Miami the favorite to sign him? Miami doesn't even make the final shortlist. 

In Indianapolis, Manning filled notebook after notebook with his film study. You think he didn't fill a notebook or two during his whirlwind tour of the past two weeks? Ten years from now, those loose-leafs could sell for millions of dollars – football's version of DaVinci's revolutionary scribblings.

Let's just say, he's thought about this more than anyone in the media has – maybe more than anyone who has ever gone through this process – and he surely has reasons that might not even occur to much of the media. 

But there are certain factors that appear too compelling to ignore. 

The Elway factor

Most obvious is that when Manning looks in the football mirror these days, the man he most wants to see is John Elway

A little more than a decade ago, Elway was nearing the end of his career. He was considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation – and perhaps ever – but there was a gigantic void in his résumé: he had never won a Super Bowl. 

By 1999, he had retired having won two Super Bowls in his final two seasons. Now he's the Broncos general manager. 

Manning, of course, has won a Super Bowl. But just one. When the assembled talking heads of football wisdom gather Sunday mornings to grant and withdraw immortality to today's players, Manning almost always comes second when talk turns to quarterbacks. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl wins, the argument inevitably goes. Even Manning's kid brother, Eli, now has two.

If Manning could pull an Elway, the entire conversation would change. Manning, of course, probably doesn't care much about "the conversation." He would, however, care deeply about the shiny trophy. 

So, in the end, who understands better how to do what John Elway did than John Elway? In Denver, Manning is allying himself with perhaps the only person in pro football management who knows what it is like to be Peyton Manning. 

The lunch-pail factor

There are other factors, too.

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