Sometimes one signing is all it takes to turnaround a franchise. It’s not that the Denver Broncos were a struggling franchise in early 2012, they were actually coming off a season in which they won a playoff game. But it had been a long time since the Broncos were relevant in the championship picture. That’s when Peyton Manning came to town, and changed everything.
Some people actually called the Broncos crazy for signing the legendary quarteback. I guess I can’t completely blame them, because the guy did have four neck surgeries, but I felt it was a risk worth taking all along. Clearly, the Broncos did their homework on Manning, and they wouldn’t have signed him if they weren’t confident in his surgically repaired neck.
Now fast-forward a year, and the Broncos are Super Bowl favorites. What a difference 365 days can make. Most analysts projected it would be a two or three-year project in Denver, and that they wouldn’t be SB contenders from the start of the Peyton era, but they were all proved wrong. The Broncos cruised through the regular season in 2012, and easily earned the AFC’s top seed.
Ultimately they ran into the eventual champions, and simply made too many bad plays on a cold day in January. I do believe it was unfair to think the Broncos should have won the SB last year, even though they had the talent to pull it off. I like their chances much better this season, after a full year with Manning at the helm.
Now with Wes Welker joining an already explosive offense, Denver is the clear favorite to win the AFC. That certainly wasn’t the case a year ago. It just goes to show how good Peyton Manning really is, and with him still on top of his game, the franchise can finally get back to the heights it reached in the late-90’s with John Elway.
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