There are 95 million reasons why Peyton Manning went to the Most Evil NFL Team Ever, the Denver Broncos. He’s 36 years old, wants to secure his future, his family’s future, etc. blah, blah. BS. $95M is hard to pass up. I get that part. In full disclosure, let’s also put aside that, as a Raiders fan, I hate the Broncos (gee, could ya tell?) and that he’ll likely destroy my Raiders over the course of the next 3-4 seasons. But For the life of me, I can’t understand why he didn’t take a deal with The Second Most Evil NFL Team Ever, the SF 49ers.
Really, I don’t get it.
If I’m Peyton manning and I’m literally putting my neck on the line at age 36, why would I go to a team that’s not even half the team the 49ers are right now—a team that literally came within 2 of the Most Braindead Special Teams Plays Ever of going to the Super Bowl? And it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to look at the four keys areas and figure the more prudent and better decision. Let’s quickly look at ’em.
As a QB, you want offensive weapons, right? Right. The Niners have ’em in droves over the Broncos—WRs Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Ted Ginn Jr. (loads of untapped talent), TE Vernon Davis and RB Frank Gore (and an above average backup in Kendall Hunter). And, heck, they just got Randy Moss for giggles.
The Broncos have, well, uh,….oh yeah, RB WIllis McGahee (injury prone)! And, uh, WR Eddie Royal! No wait, he just went to the Chargers via free agency. There’s WR Eric Decker! Who? And the TE is Icant Namehim. Next, and apart from his inability to make a decision in the pocket, there were two other reasons why Tim Tebow ran like a banshee last year: 1.) The run-oriented line didn’t allow enough time for WRs to get open and 2.) the line isn’t that good when it comes to pass protection, giving up 42 sacks (the Niners 44)—and it would have been more if not for Tebow’s legs. Manning and his 36-year old legs won’t be so lucky.
EDGE: Niners by a smidge.
Granted they play in the worst division in football (more on that in a second), but the Niners still had one of the more stout Ds last 2-3 years. Denver? A soft schedule last year may have inflated their stature, though they played tough at times. Still they ranked 20th in D. The Niners? #4.
EDGE: Niners, and hugely so.
John Fox was a darn good coach for the Carolina Panthers turned the mid 2000s, but he hasn’t really done anything since ’05. For Jim Harbaugh, well, in his first and only season as an NFL coach, he took an underachieving team to within 2 of the Most Braindead Special Teams Plays Ever of the Super Bowl. Oh, and he did pretty well at Stanford, too. Plus, he’s an offense-minded coach.
The NFC West is the single worst division in football. Some might argue that the AFC West could beat it out, but I don’t think so. The Broncos have to contend with the Chargers and Chiefs, both very respectable and decent teams. As it stands now, the Niners can stamp a ticket to the playoffs for the next 3-4 years because there’s really no one to challenge them. Peyton would then likely get to face Little Bro (ahem, the one with two Lombardi trophies in his case vs. Big Bro’s one) in the playoffs.
Four simple categories for Peyton to review and make a sound professional decision, one that quite possibly could have led to one or two Super Bowl visits, if not victories. That didn’t happen, though. Instead Peyton opted for the Benjamins in Broncoville under the BS ruse that he’ll play for one of the game’s greatest QBs, John Elway. (Guess he forgot about Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Brodie and their legacies in S.F.). Maybe the Niners couldn’t get anywhere near Denver’s offer, who knows. Still, at this point in his career, what is the point of playing if not to win championships? He has as much money as he’ll ever need from his contracts and the $38M he earned in endorsements in ’11. Bronco fans will probably deny all this but there’s no getting around Peyton’s decision to play in Denver was based on selfishness and personal, and was not at all football related. What a disappointing move coming from one of the more likable players in the NFL.