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.
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Manning is a lunch-pail football player – a fact often overshadowed by his cerebral take on the game. He is a worker, and likes a workplace filled with workers and lacking in drama. In Broncos head coach John Fox, he has one of pro football's wiser heads, who's been around, seen everything, and knows how to run a tight ship without becoming William Bligh.Skip to next paragraph
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Perhaps even more to the point, Fox has shown himself to be adaptable. Last season, the Broncos essentially keelhauled their entire offensive philosophy when Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback – designing a new system from scratch that would fit his skill set.
With Manning, the skill set will change again – and dramatically. Tebow's boiled down run-first system will have to change to a system of countless permutations that Manning can change at will – linemen, receivers, backs, and coaches, all waiting for Manning to marshal the offense moment by moment, conductor-like, from the pit that is his spot behind center.
That degree of influence some coaches might find threatening. In Denver, it will simply be the second time they've blown up the offense in two years.
The up-and-coming factor
The pieces of that offense will be intriguing to Manning, too. Take the fact that the Broncos were the top-rated rushing team in the league last year. Of course, that was with the mobile Tebow as quarterback. Without him, they would have been closer to the middle of the pack. Even so, Manning hasn't had a middle-of-the-pack – much less a top – rushing offense since Edgerrin James left the Colts in 2006.
Young and talented is the Broncos MO. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker Vonn Miller can pressure opposing quarterbacks, while Champ Bailey is a shutdown cornerback better than any Manning had in his Colts career.
The weather factor
Just as interesting, though, is what did not dissuade Manning from choosing the Broncos.
Most obvious is that it is cold and windy in Denver. For a player who has played his entire professional career in a dome – and who is coming off a season lost to a neck injury – Denver might seem a terrible fit. But it is an indication of Manning's own confidence – both in his skills and his rehabilitation – that playing football a mile up and occasionally amid blizzards was not decisive.
After all this time, he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.
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