Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/17/12
It's a passing league - no secret to anyone. But the Broncos may have been onto something last year.  While teams shift to passing offenses, the Broncos could have doubled down on being a power run team and been competitive.  Defenses are being built to stop passing attacks, not the University of Nebraska rushing attack of the 80s. While I think some team will eventually transition to a power run attack to exploit the smaller, faster defenses that exist in the modern NFL, I don't think the Broncos were equipped to do such a thing with Tim Tebow at the helm. Willis McGahee is great but fumbles and is one year older. Lance Ball is Lance Ball. Knowshown Moreno can't stay healthy.  It would take a few years to develop a ground and pound offense around Tebow. John Elway obviously agreed with me.  Or the other way around.  No matter, he relentlessly pursued Peyton Manning as a free agent. Private flights in and out of the city with Brandon Stokley picking him up at the clear-port.  Dinners at Elway's restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton, house tours in Cherry Hills, helicopter views of the Rockies - oh la la!  Only thing missing from an authentic Denver tour was a trip to the dispensary followed by a beer at Wynkoop.Doubters and pundits alike declared Manning too risky.  His neck was a sub-prime mortgage, in 2012.  No loan officer wants that now-a-days, it's not like 2005, 2006, 2007...Yet Elway and Coach Fox, “The Denver Johns" if you will, relied on their guts and input from doctors to make the decision.  Is it worth taking a risk on a top-5 all-time quarterback?  Can his neck hold up, not for football's sake but for his own?  The answer to both was a resounding yes. The Broncos haven't looked great this year.  They get down early often, and play catch-up a lot.  Some will say this is a reason for Manning's statistics, but he's been doing this 15 seasons.  It's not a fluke. While guys like Eric Decker and Demariyus Thomas become more and more familiar with Manning, the offense will only get better.  In the meantime Manning is incorporating his old pals Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme quite a bit. Enough banter.  Manning missed the 2011 season.  It's a passing league, and he's been out for a year.  But he is ranking above guys like Drees Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and lil bro Eli Manning across the board in quarterback yardsticks.  Let’s examine his 2012 stats and ranks:TD: 14 (T-2nd)YPG: 301 (3rd)YD: 1808 (2nd)QBR: 105.0 (2nd by .4)AVG/ATT: 8.0 (T-4th, but 3rd highest of career)20+ YD Plays: 26 (2nd)Coming into a new offense, with receivers that ran limited routes in a Tebow-led attack, and off four neck surgeries - I'd say the man is doing phenomenal.Calling the Monday Night comeback against the Chargers impressive would be a disservice.  It was the second greatest comeback in the history of the NFL, behind Frank Reich's epic decimation of my beloved Oilers in 1993. Manning's pedigree speaks for itself: four-time NFL MVP, 11 time pro-bowler, Super Bowl MVP, an array of NCAA/NFL passing records, and en route to being the comeback player of the year in 2012.  Nothing suggests his performance will drastically fall off as the season progresses.  Nothing at all. Bottom line - Peyton is back.  Opposing NFL defenses should consider themselves warned. 
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