Denver, CO – The Pro Football Hall of Fame…Canton, Ohio…the place where legends go to be remembered by all football fans across the world. The best of the best in pro football history have a statue in that building. For some players, it takes years upon years to be elected into this elite fraternity. Only the cream of the crop are inducted on their first ballot, which is five years after they retire. Peyton Manning will be one of those select few. He will be without a doubt, a sure fire, first ballot Hall of Famer. His accolades are matched by few, and if he retired today, would be regarded as one of the best to ever play his position. But a question recently occurred to me…is there any way Peyton could go into the Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco? Is this question crazy? Maybe, but I actually think there is a chance.
The numbers Peyton Manning put up in Indianapolis are truly astounding. His leadership and control of that offense are legendary, with all of his crazy antics at the line of scrimmage used to confuse defenses. He has won the NFL MVP 4 times, is an 11-time Pro Bowler, was the fastest ever to 50,000 passing yards and 4,000 completions. He has a trophy as well, winning Super Bowl XLI. All of this in an Indianapolis Colts uniform. We all know about him missing the entire 2011 season because of several neck surgeries. The Colts went 2-14, secured the #1 pick, and landed Andrew Luck. By the way, the Colts are the luckiest team ever. Most teams search for years, if not decades, for their franchise QB. Indy got two of em back to back. Peyton was then let go, and chose the Mile High City as his new home. Is it a forgone conclusion he will enter the Hall of Fame as a Colt? Not necessarily.
Let’s start with the MINIMUMS that will have to happen here for Peyton to go into Canton as a Bronco. 2 Super Bowl championships. Denver will have to win 2, maybe 3 while he is here. 2 puts him at one more than he won in Indianapolis. He will also have to win at least one league MVP while he wears the orange and blue. He will have to have a winning record in the playoffs while he is here, something he did not accomplish as a Colt. He will also have to have a couple trademark, signature moments in the playoffs or Super Bowls as well. Elway has his helicopter dive against Green Bay, Joe Montana has his toss to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone against Dallas, etc…This list of things is actually attainable. Peyton is one of the most driven athletes today, and he has recently looked and sounded like a guy who is far from done. If Broncos fans get the Peyton Manning that we have watched over the past decade or so, a lot of winning will be in Denver’s future.
Will Peyton Manning WANT to go into the Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco? Who knows. His breakup in Indy is something he didn’t want, and he will have bitter feelings towards them for some time I am sure. Time heals all wounds though, and years from now he may forgive them and resurrect a relationship with the Colts ownership. If he doesn’t win big here in Denver over the next four or five years, the choice will be easy, and he will be an Indianapolis Colt in Canton, Ohio. However….if he does win big here, say a Lombardi Trophy or three ….then Peyton Manning being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Bronco is not as far fetched as you might think.
Denver Sports by J Simp