How John Elway Convinced Peyton Manning

By Derek Kessinger

Peyton Manning had his pick of destinations for the final chapter of his career, but he chose Denver, Colorado. The Mile High City has won two playoff games since their last Super Bowl before the turn of the century, but now has one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. It was a victory that came after the decade’s biggest star, Carmelo Anthony, hit the road, but the most sought after free agent in NFL history is now on the Denver Broncos.

The puzzle of how Vice President John Elway and the rest of the Broncos organization landed Manning may never quite be understood. They were up against a number of competent teams. They were in the running against a team that went 13-3 in the 49ers, and a team in Tennessee that finished with a better record than the Broncos in a better division.

For Manning, the comfort level of the organization seemed to be among the most important factors. He obviously felt that Denver is close to competing for a Super Bowl and met with them before any other team. While other teams tried to sell themselves in the days following the Broncos visit, Elway’s manner stuck with Manning.

It was revealed in the comments of Peyton Manning’s press conference yesterday that the Broncos did not try to sell Denver hard to convince Manning. This was the key to this signing with the Denver Broncos. Elway wanted to Manning to make the best decision for him, while being confident that Denver would come across as the best on his own.

“I told Peyton to take his time… Make sure you pick the right place for Peyton Manning,” Elway said. “It was less selfish for him to pick the right place for him… We didn’t want to pressure him in any way… Didn’t want to be in his lap all the time.”

Manning mentioned how this same conversation had an effect on his decision. Manning wanted to be comfortable wherever he ended up, and that ultimately ended up being with the Denver Broncos. He mentioned that Elway and Coach John Fox also felt comfortable and that was important to his decision.

In the end, treating Manning with respect and a sense of respect allowed Elway to record another W. Whether it was a technique he learned when he owned car dealerships or just an understanding among two of the greatest in the game, the strategy paid off. The Broncos will have number 18 comfortable in the shotgun when training camp rolls around.

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