The Chase For Peyton – Day #2

The helicopters were out again Friday in the Great Peyton Chase.

This time, it was courtesy of Denver television stations that filled the air above that city’s Centennial Airport with shots of Peyton Manning arriving in the mile high city with the brain trust of the Denver Broncos. On the left, that’s Manning to the left, John Elway to the right and John Fox in the background.

It was the next step in the Great Peyton Chase, as the superstar quarterback decides where he will continue his football career. On Thursday, upon arriving back in Miami after saying good bye in Indianapolis, Manning’s car was followed by helicopters.

The same thing went down early Friday afternoon, when the private plane belonging to Broncos owner Patrick Bowlen carried Manning, executive VP John Elway, head coach John Fox and Broncos GM Brian Xanders. Here’s how detailed the coverage was from Denver – we know that they left the airport in a Toyota Sequoia, driven by Fred Fleming, the long-time assistant of Bowlen. No word on how much gas was in the tank.

Bowlen’s plane had left Denver early that same morning and dropped the Broncos folks off in Stillwater, Oklahoma so they could attend the Pro Day workout of QB Brandon Wedden at Oklahoma State. As that workout was taking place, the plane continued on to Miami, picking up Manning and then stopping again in Stillwater to grab the Broncos leaders.

What does it mean that the Broncos were the first team Manning visited with? Given the personality and reputation of Manning, it does not appear to be an especially valuable in this poker game. He’s going to be very thorough in his search for a new home, and he’s not going to visit one facility, talk with one team and then make a decision. Somebody had to be first, so in this case it was Denver.

The way the price for a player gets driven up is to get one team very hot for your bones, and it forces the other teams to push their offers up or drop out of the chase. Manning’s agent Tom Condon found his sucker in this case, and it’s the Broncos.

If Denver pushes the envelope on an offer, that’s going to effect the approach of the Chiefs, who are going to do whatever they can to make sure that if Manning doesn’t end up in Arrowhead, he isn’t playing in the mile high city either.

Oh, and while we didn’t really need confirmation, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt went on CNBC Friday night and made it plain he wanted Manning.

“He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the league,” Hunt said. “He’s also an incredible person. We feel really good about the team we have in Kansas City going into the 2012 season, but we’ll look for any opportunity to improve and, of course, that includes Peyton Manning.”

Why are the Broncos – a team that made the post-season and won a game in the playoffs – going hard after Manning, especially when they already have crowd favorite Tim Tebow?

NFL sources that know – and in cases like this, don’t they all know everything! – say Bowlen is ready, willing and able to pop for the number placed in front of him by Manning and Condon.

Bowlen and Elway want Manning bad. Access to QBs like Manning does not come around every day. In fact, generally it requires a team to finish a season with anywhere from zero to two victories, thus earning the first choice in the NFL Draft. That’s what teams have to do to be in position to collect one of the “maybe” franchise quarterbacks.

Guys like Manning are not traded away in the NFL. Every 15 to 20 years or so, the stars will align and the back stories being played out within the league require a top of the line QB to change zip codes.

It was nearly 30 years ago that the Broncos got lucky in one of those draft situations with Elway. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts, but told the Irsay family at the time he would not play for them. Elway had the hammer of a potential baseball career to use in negotiations and ultimately he ended up in Denver.

All this is built on the foundation that after four neck surgeries, Manning can get back to the quarterback he was before the injury. That’s what all 12 teams interested in him are counting on. The Broncos made the playoffs last year, and then beat Pittsburgh in overtime. They were one of the final eight teams. From afar we may think they overshot their runway last year, taking advantage of a fourth-place schedule and a weak division, much like the Chiefs did in the 2010 season.

If Peyton’s place is Denver, what be next for Tebow?

It’s hard to see where the two of them could co-exist. Manning is not Tebow and Tebow is not Manning. Putting together a base offense for Manning, and then patching together “a package of plays” for Tebow would be a giant waste of time. There will be no competition for this starting job; if Manning goes from horse shoe on his helmet to wearing the orange donkey, he’ll be the man. He won’t want to give up any snaps in practice, or time in meetings to something that’s not going to be directed by him. That’s not selfish behavior; that’s life with one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game’s history. Nobody, absolutely nobody has ever prepared for his starting assignment each week than Manning. He’s not a game manager, as so many QBs get labeled these days, but a team manager. If Manning is mile high, Tebow is headed out of town.

What’s next for the Peyton Chase?

Apparently, he’ll be on to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals. Then it’s back to Miami and a meet with the Dolphins.

Stay tuned. The Peyton Chase is just warming up.

18 Responses to “The Chase For Peyton – Day #2”

  • March 10, 2012  - milkman says:

    Let’s hope the only reason Manning started his search in Denver is his respect for John Elway. I also hope Bob is right when he says if Hunt can’t persuade him to come here he’ll do whatever to keep him out of Denver. It will be interesting to see just how long it takes for Manning to pick a team.

  • March 10, 2012  - Rich Davis says:

    Rumors are that Manning does not want to go to the NFC. If true, that leaves Denver, KC and Miami.

    If Peyton wants to go to a Super Bowl, chances are much better in our division.

    That leaves two: Denver and KC.

    Money won’t be the issue. Both teams have huge cap space.

    Both teams are talented.

    Both fan bases are terrific.

    Each stadium, while not turf or dome, have home field advantages— Denver the thin air and fan support. KC the fan support.

    Which team would a quarterback’s quarterback want to play for? Elway or Pioli?

    Which team has the least dysfunction at the administrative level?

    The Mannings are a quarterback family. It wouldn’t surprise to see them gravitate towards Denver.

    I hope that’s not the case. The Chiefs don’t want to have the least talented QB in the division. It would still be possible to be successful, but it would require Pioli to put together and unusually strong 53.

  • March 10, 2012  - txchief says:

    Maybe Andrew Luck will pull an Elway and refuse to play for Jum Irsay after he just completely gutted the Colts.

  • March 10, 2012  - ChuckXX says:

    Let me give you my “insight” from a wily old veteran of NFL football that goes back to Super Bowl#1. If Manning was “truly interested” in KC wouldn’t he at a very minimum have scheduled a visit here in person??? Just like he did in Denver, Arizona and Miami. I think (if you can read between the lines) that tells you “volumes” about the situation. He’s not really interested in KC or he would want an “eyeball to eyeball” meeting with the brass of KC. We need to move on with our thoughts. He wants to make a decision by early next week. We are stuck with Cassel for 2012 whether we like it or not. Yes, I saw the clip on Clarks schpeel but it was a one way conversation. Peyton has shown no interest in KC or he would be coming for a visit.

  • March 10, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    Fox Sports has a story that list Denver, Arizona and Miami as tne best chances. Not a word on KC. Oh well, damn it was fun dreaming.

  • March 10, 2012  - Petey says:

    My goodness Chuck and john…you are acting like he has signed a contract. No one other than PM and Tom Condon have any idea what he is thinking or where he wants to play. Anything otherwise is nothing but speculation. I truly believe that we are still a player in this and until I hear that he has signed I won’t change my mind.

  • March 10, 2012  - txchief says:

    I have another thought on why Manning may have gone to Donkeytown. Isn’t there more than a little irony that he went to visit with Elway, the man who refused to play for the Colts, immediately after Irsay cut Peyton loose?

  • March 10, 2012  - Niblick says:

    I also think we are still a player in the Manning sweepstakes. He could still schedule a visit next week. He hasn’t worked out for any team yet, as far as I know. He may not sign quite as early as some reports have indicated.

  • March 10, 2012  - Craig says:

    Hi all. The idea that Tebow leaves Denver if the donkeys sign Peyton Manning is a mistake. Tebow would love the opportunity to study under Mr Manning and learn from him. Tebow is not an egomaniac like some QBs. He would see this as a great opportunity. Thats makes a Manning move to Denver all the worst for the Chiefs. They have an all pro who when he leaves, leaves the franchise with a better QB than when he came.

  • March 10, 2012  - Niblick says:

    He left Denver without a contract and is now going to Arizona. We are not out of the race yet.

  • March 10, 2012  - el cid says:

    Not sure Tebow “would love” anything but being the man in denver? Most Qbs has egos that bein second best is not any good. He cancelled a press conference because of the obvious questions about Manning joining denver. Still I would prefer Manning not go to Denver.

    Only oddity, with Hunt/Pioli comments and Condon as agent, it is worrisome Manning does not get his picture taken visiting Arrowhead, doesn’t?

  • March 10, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    txchief makes a great point. Irsay gutted the Colts even worse than Hermie gutted our Chiefs.
    Luck has to be sick to his stomach.

  • March 11, 2012  - Graig says:

    There’s a billboard up in Denver asking Donkey fans whether they want Manning or Tebow. I went to the site at and voted for Tebow. I don’t know what sort of difference it will make but anything I can do to keep Manning away from Broncos/Chargers/Raider I will.
    Fingers crossed Peyton has an Arrowhead on his helmet this fall!

  • March 11, 2012  - Kevin D says:

    Okay. To all who think the Peyton Sweepstakes is the next ticket to the Super Bowl: Think again.

    I am a dedicated 40 year Chiefs fan who is now living in Indianapolis. My Colts fan friends here hate it when I say it, but I will say it here: Peyton will not play another down of regular season NFL football. He’s done. He doesn’t know it, nor does anyone else, so I am not claiming any deception going on. He’s done, though.

    I heard the entire press conference when Irsay announced the Colts were cutting him. Lots of interesting things were said, but Irsay left me with the impression he knows things the rest of the NFL doesn’t; or at least thinks he does.

    WE DO NOT WANT MANNING. As much as it pains me to say it, he will be a waste of money, BIG money we need to build a group around Cassel. For Manning’s sake, I hope I’m wrong. He truly is a quality person, and his quarterbacking skills were without question.

    Just my view from the cheap seats, folks. But my gut is rarely wrong.

  • March 11, 2012  - Kevin D says:

    Oh… and one more little tidbit of history…

    Is there anybody but me out here who is tired of seeing the Chiefs go after high caliber quarterbacks after they played their prime years elsewhere? I give you one Joe Montana as Exhibit #1. Yes, I was grateful we got to see a truly great quarterback play in a Chiefs jersey in the twilight of his career; but it was the TWILIGHT, the end. It is precisely what we would get from Manning — if I’m wrong and he can still play NFL caliber quarterback.

    It’s too late now — the Redskins already did it — but if we want to spend big money on a quarterback, why not spend it to get a YOUNG quarterback and build a team around him???? It would be such a novel approach for the Chiefs.

    I’m sick of watching us getting other teams cast offs, only to find out WHY they were cast-offs.

  • March 11, 2012  - el cid says:

    Based on the Chiefs “famous” history, they have always used other teams QBs to try to succeed. Even Len Dawson. When they drafted QB, they were the wrong ones. Some team go that direction and the win one superbowl since it started.

    I suspect we have had the fun on being in the Manning sweepstakes, if only in our local minds. But anyone who thinks Cassel is going to the superbowl…..well, let’s just say, their meds need adjustment badly.

    We have free agency coming, hope Mannings apparent distain toward the Chiefs, do not cost us decent help. The future is there, not sure how bright it is.

  • March 11, 2012  - Kevin D says:

    Far be it from me to question Cid… but we got Lenny Dawson in his sixth pro year, and he hadn’t played that much = less wear and tear. Further, he hadn’t yet become a “has been”, he was a “not yet” because neither the Browns or Steelers had played him much. Contrary to your point, Cid, Dawson was the closest this organization has ever gotten to actually developing a young talent. And developing a young talent at quarterback has always been its weak point.

    My point is this: What the Chiefs have done for 4 decades since their one Super Bowl win hasn’t worked. Yes, we were competitive in the 90′s but so what? “Almost” is still the first, second or third loser. The Chiefs, right now, are in a prime position to draft a young quarterback, and run with him, sink or swim. Problem is, the two best prospects are as good as gone.

    The Chiefs have a long history of “playing not to lose”. It’s time they start playing to win. It hurts more sometimes, but the wins will certainly taste sweeter.

  • March 11, 2012  - el cid says:

    Don’t buy it so much. I have heard of the has been and the never was and the bum of the month but “not yet” is a catagory I am unfamilar with. I do remember Dawson was in bad shape when he got to camp with Sram (Strams words) and was considered 3rd string, not even a backup. I will agree the Chiefs developed him, more re-vigored (a word?) what had been left to waste in the NFL.

    As for talent being gone, we all hope to find the next Brady, 6th round pick, how many teams, how many times passed on that guy? I firmly believe, even the finest college QBs need to prove themselves in the NFL, hope Pioli finds one.

    Your last paragraph, from your mouth to god’s ear. To date, for the last three years, Hunt and Pioli are building (supposedly) and the business side is ahead of the on field side. Let’s see what happens.

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