Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/21/12

The Broncos acquired four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in the offseason. They signed him to a five year, $98 million contract. They got rid of temporary franchise quarterback Tim Tebow. They basically put all of their chips on the table for Manning.

So when you look at things at face value, you'd think with potentially the greatest passer in the history of the NFL leading your offense out of the huddle, as Broncos personnel, you'd have no problem with how Manning ran things in Indianapolis, right?

Elway begs to differ. In an interview with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Elway stressed the need for the Broncos to be a balanced offense, similar to how things were ran in Denver's most successful seasons – their back-to-back Super Bowl-winning seasons of '97 and '98.

"Yeah, no question. If that's one thing that I ever learned, having been through three Super Bowls where we didn't run the football very well. Then, once we did it and win Super Bowls, we had great balance and were able to run the ball as well as throw it and play good defense and special teams. To be able to get a football team that's capable of competing for world championships, you always got to get a little bit lucky, but you got to have all phases to win it all."

Later on, Elway states that "one guy doesn't win you a championship, although he gives you a hell of a chance to be able to compete." 

Rapoport does a good job of covering Elway's Super Bowl losses to the Giants, Redskins and Niners, documenting how bad the running game was for the Broncos, and how dependent they had to be upon Elway's abilities in order to win games before finally drafting a stud running back in Terrell Davis, who I think even Elway will admit, was the focal point of the offense during Denver's Super Bowl seasons.

Having said that, the game is a lot different from what it was 20 something years ago when Elway played in those three Super Bowl losses. With the rules bent the way they are today, the game places more value upon the quarterback than ever before. The quarterback can just about single-handedly lead a team to contention without a dominant, or even good running game.

Examples of this include the past two seasons alone. Tom Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 2011 despite a 17th-ranked rushing attack.  Eli Manning led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory with a 19th-ranked rushing attack. The Packers, with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback in 2010, won the Super Bowl with the 18th-ranked rushing attack. The Packers ranked 28th in yards per attempt.

So, as much as Elway would like to cite balance as key – and it is – and deflect pressure away from the fact that Manning is returning after four neck surgeries in the past two years, the fact of the matter is the Broncos will go as far as Manning is able to lead them. The running game will be key. The Broncos cannot expect to continually rank near the bottom of the league at pounding the football as the Colts did for so many years after Edgerrin James left, and expect to be a Super Bowl-winning team. In 2010, the Colts ranked at the bottom of the league in rushing.

Having said that, teams go where the quarterback leads them. The Patriots had the second-worst defense in the NFL in 2011 and came up one drive short of winning the Super Bowl. As important as supporting casts are, with the way the rules have been bent, it's become a quarterback-driven league. The Broncos will go as far as their quarterback leads them.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rangers survive war of attrition in Game 1 vs Blue Jays

NBA Players Union to fund cardiac screenings for retired players

Dolphins fire defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, promote Lou Anarumo

Rob Manfred isn’t a fan of tweaking playoff format

Matt Barnes opens up about Derek Fisher fight

Bennett: QBs make too much money, not enough left for OL


Frank Gore must step up vs. Texans with Andrew Luck out

Sean Rodriguez apologizes about outburst, including to water cooler

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Gregg Popovich now resting himself by sitting out games

Knicks' sellout streak at Madison Square Garden halted at 201

Rex Ryan: Probably ‘a reach’ for Karlos Williams to play Sunday

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Women in sports this week: Is this 2015 or 1965?

Three reasons each AL team can win the pennant

Garrett addresses Hardy's comments about Gisele

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 5

Rex makes players do push-ups in practice after penalty calls

Weeden compares QB situation to 'backing up Derek Jeter'

Pirates fan dresses as Steve Bartman, fails to curse Cubs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker