SBD/March 20, 2012/Franchises

John Elway Praised For His Role In Landing Peyton Manning With The Broncos

Some pundits say Elway could become HOF exec if move to sign Manning pays off
The Broncos this morning reached a five-year, $96M deal with QB Peyton Manning, according to sources cited by Jeff Legwold of the DENVER POST. The contract "does include some injury protection for the Broncos," as Manning has had four recent neck surgeries that forced him to miss the enitre '11 season. Manning is "scheduled to be formally introduced as the newest Broncos quarterback" during a 3:00pm ET press conference today (DENVERPOST.com, 3/20). In Denver, Mike Klis in a front-page piece notes there is "not all joy in Broncosville," as Manning's arrival "almost certainly will mean the end" of QB Tim Tebow's time with the team (DENVER POST, 3/20). ESPN.com's Mortensen & Schefter reported the Broncos have "few concerns with Manning's medical condition." Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations John Elway now has "helped produce Denver's biggest win since he led the Broncos to their last Super Bowl victory" in January '99 (ESPN.com, 3/19).

THIS ONE'S FOR JOHN: ESPN.com's Ashley Fox wrote under the header, "Elway's Drive Saves Broncos Again." Acquiring Manning is a "monstrous win for the franchise, the city of Denver and Broncos fans everywhere, and an even bigger win for Elway." Knowing firsthand how "immensely popular Tebow was, Elway still orchestrated the biggest free-agency coup ever." There is a "chance it might not work," and if it does not, "even the great John Elway will be vilified." But Elway "didn't care" (ESPN.com, 3/19). In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes under the header, "Elway Wins With Bold, Brassy Pick." Kiszla: "Kudos to Elway, who again proved why the league has seldom seen anybody with such ability to lead a late, winning drive. It was bold. It was brassy. It has little room for failure" (DENVER POST, 3/20). In Boston, Chad Finn wrote, "Give John Elway the Executive of the Year award now." Landing Manning "is a coup." By signing Manning, Elway has "managed to find the only way he could displace and even trade the wildly popular Tim Tebow without enduring significant backlash" (BOSTON.com, 3/19). In Denver, Woody Paige writes Elway was the "difference-maker as an executive, just as he had been as a player." Paige: "I never should have doubted Elway in his resolve to lure Manning to Denver" (DENVER POST, 3/20). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes Elway and Manning have a "strong relationship, and it probably wasn't difficult for Elway to sell Manning on the benefit of an aging quarterback playing for a balanced team" (USA TODAY, 3/20). ESPN's Adam Schefter said, “It made a lot of sense these two struck a connection and it’s one of the main reasons that Peyton Manning will soon be a Denver Bronco” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 3/19).

GAMBLING MAN: CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman wrote signing Manning is the "biggest gamble any general manager has made in the history of football." If it works, Elway will "secure himself as a Hall of Fame executive to go along with his Hall of Fame arm." If this fails, it will "go down as the greatest flop in league history." Elway will "never recover from it, and the Broncos organization will be set back for some time" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/19). In Colorado Springs, David Ramsey writes under the header, "Elway Tackles Risk Of A Lifetime In Signing Manning." Ramsey: "The peril is there. But that’s how Elway operates, and I applaud his nerve, even if I’m filled with questions." Elway is "taking a chance at greatness." He could "crash, but this chance is worth it" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 3/20). In Denver, Mike Littwin writes it was "bold to chase Manning without any certainty he could catch him." This was "exactly the kind of high-risk, high-reward stuff that made Elway into Elway and still apparently defines him" (DENVER POST, 3/20). ESPN.com's Bill Williamson wrote yesterday was the "biggest day in Denver Broncos history since John Elway won his second straight Super Bowl 13 years ago." While Elway was a "huge factor in Denver's landing Manning, do not underestimate the role of Fox." He is a "player-friendly coach who will allow Manning the freedom to do what he likes" (ESPN.com, 3/19). The DENVER POST's Kiszla writes "score a big victory" for Bowlen and Elway, the man who "made this deal happen" (DENVER POST, 3/20).

PUSHED ASIDE? YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote Manning "provides Elway and Fox the political cover to push Tebow aside." The Denver fans who once "erected a billboard for Tebow aren’t going to rebel when they just signed a guy who, if healthy, is one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/19). The AP's Tim Dahlberg asks of Tebow, "What do you do with a wobbly armed quarterback who never seems to pick it up until the fourth quarter?" A quarterback who "somehow found ways to win, but whose real attraction is as an attraction who can fill seats?" What owner -- "other than, maybe, newcomer Shahid Khan in Jacksonville -- is going to pay a premium for a Tebowmania craze that might already be over?" (AP, 3/20).
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