When John Elway set off last March in hot pursuit of the NFL's most spectacular free-agent talent since Reggie White, he never considered Peyton Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform to be a gamble. Not even a calculated risk.
To be precise, when Manning leads the AFC's No. 1-seeded team (13-3) into Saturday's divisional playoff game against the fourth-seeded Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, this is exactly what the Broncos envisioned.
Not only would Peyton Manning be fine, but he also would be great. And yes, Elway has to admit, it feels good to be right about that.
"Yeah, I do. I'm proud of that," says Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president for football operations, letting out a huge laugh.
He'd bet the house that Manning -- coveted by many but ultimately wooed to Denver -- would beat the odds stacked against a 36-year-old quarterback idled the entire 2011 season by a neck injury, nerve damage, spinal fusion surgery and a grueling rehabilitat...