When Denver fans called for Tebow to play and lead the team to the playoffs, they thought they were receiving a divine power that would lead them to victory. They were simply following a false prophet and when John Elway sent him away he brought the true light to Denver: Peyton Manning.
Tim Tebow did have a winning record and did manage to win a playoff game. He had a series of fourth quarter and overtime comebacks that made the Broncos look better than they were. But he was just a terrible quarterback because of his most obvious flaw: he couldn’t and can’t throw.
However, if you like 6’ 5”, 230lb quarterbacks with laser rocket arms then you’d be much happier with getting rid of Tebow and bringing in Manning. Manning has revolutionised the way the Broncos play and has reversed expectations for the franchise. Instead of booing Kyle Orton off the field, the fans now have something to cheer about as their quarterback flings the ball out to a bevy of talented wide receivers all enjoying themselves. Though the running game might not be perfect, it doesn’t matter because Peyton is too good for any running game to compensate. Manning has brought belief to the team with his skills that everybody thought he had lost after his series of neck injuries.
If you’re wondering why this article is on Peyton Manning, just look at his stats for the first two games against the previous two Superbowl Champions: he has thrown for 769 yards with 9 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He is currently on target for a 72-touchdown season with over 6000 yards thrown. Those stats may seem unreasonable but if he really does have a laser rocket arm then it might in fact be possible. This is a guy who dominates teams throughout the game and throughout the season. There will be no more fourth quarter comebacks with Manning on the field because as he says, “You hear about how many fourth quarter comebacks that a guy has and I think it means a guy screwed up in the first three quarters.”
So it does look like the Broncos are the team to beat and it is mostly due to Manning. The supporting cast of Welker, Thomas and Decker is pretty standard and fans don’t expect huge things from mediocre receivers like them. They’re pretty much standard fare and you’d expect Manning to at least throw for 5000 yards if he were playing with the local Denver Community College flag football receivers. Moreno seems to be able to run in a few touchdowns but really he’s just taking those yards and fantasy points away from Manning, which is a little bit selfish What I think I’m saying is that the Broncos could really just use a whole team of Peyton Mannings and then the Superbowl would be theirs, because what team could compete with a man who calls his plays in Gaelic.
I was talking to a Broncos fan the other day who said he was considering sending a petition to the government to rename Monday “Manningday” (or “Manday” for short) after his great hero. Zach was very confused about why this hadn’t already been debated in both houses and why the President hadn’t tried to push it through with some much less important legislation on health care and unemployment benefits. “How we don’t already have a church of Manning is beyond me,” said Zach as he showed me his actual 6’5” Peyton Manning cut out on his dorm wall. “He’s already a central figure in Western civilization and his miraculous exploits should be shared with the world.”
While listening to this prophet of Manning I realised how easy it is to become infatuated with such a sports figure and how important sporting figures are to the fans of their teams who will pretty much do anything for them. And when they are great men like Manning it is easier to understand the appeal. I still love my childhood hero Moritz Volz, right back extraordinaire, and try to sign him on the game Football Manager each year. But Manning is a god and Broncos fans plan to worship at his altar for a while.