Peyton Manning or John Elway? The choice is an easy one

Sep 20, 2021, 9:59 AM | Updated: 10:00 am
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Denver Broncos former quarterback John Elway with Peyton Manning during a...
(Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Peyton or John? Elway or Manning? 7 or 18?

No matter how the question is posed, it’s a tough one to answer. Both are Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Both led the Broncos to multiple Super Bowls. Both hoisted a Lombardi Trophy at the end of their final game.

They’re legends. They’re icons. They’re football royalty.

Arguably, they’re the two biggest stars in the history of Colorado. It’s be difficult to come up with someone who was more famous while living in the Centennial State.

John Elway and Peyton Manning. The two greatest Broncos of all-time.

Soon, however, they may be facing off in a heated competition. When the franchise hits the open market, as its expected too before March 2022, the former quarterbacks are reported a part of separate groups looking to make a bid.

Both want to be an owner of the Broncos. But only one will accomplish that goal.

That begs the question: Who would be a better option?

Elway spent 16 years in a Broncos uniform. He’s Denver’s favorite son. He’s ultra-competitive and the king of the comeback.

Manning was in orange and blue for just four years. In that time, he shattered all sorts of NFL records. He’s the king of preparation, a person who leaves nothing to chance.

Broncos Country has gotten a glimpse of what Elway would be like as the team’s owner. Since 2012, he’s overseen the franchise’s football operations. Thus, his decision-making ability has been on full display.

For the most part, Elway was a successful executive. He built two Super Bowl teams, one of which won a title. He drafted the greatest defensive player in franchise history (Von Miller) and landed the biggest free agent the NFL has ever seen (Manning). That’s a pretty decent decade.

Manning’s ability to run the show is less proven. Since retiring after Super Bowl 50, he’s dabbled in all sorts of things, but hasn’t been at the helm of anything as public as an NFL team. He’s been more of an entertainer, starring commercials, playing in celebrity golf matches and reinvigorating the “Monday Night Football” broadcast.

Both men seem to have the Midas touch. Both find success in seemingly everything they do.

So there really isn’t a bad choice. But if one all-time great had to be picked, Manning is the selection.

Partially, it’s because of where each ex-QB is in life at the moment. Manning is 45, ready to take on the next challenge of his life. Elway is 61, content to chill on his boat in Coeur d’Alene.

Manning is plugged in. Elway is checked out.

There’s no shame in that; No. 7 has earned it. But it’d be concern if he landed the team.

For the past couple of years, Elway has been an absentee executive for the Broncos. In early 2021, he turned over his general manager duties to George Paton, seemingly relieved to be free of the day-to-day tasks. That doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to put more things on their plate.

Manning, on the hand, seems antsy. He’s craving more to do. He’s wanting a challenge. He’d be all in on running a franchise, ready to provide the leadership that is needed for success.

Plus, he’s an active part of the community. Manning is seen around town, popping up at Nuggets and Rockies games, hopping on stage at concerts and coaching his kids. When’s the last time anyone saw Elway out and about?

While not a prerequisite for ownership of a franchise, it certainly helps. Being engaged with the community is a huge part of connecting with the fan / customer base.

Most important, however, is the fact that Manning would provide a new voice. He’d bring a fresh approach to a franchise that has stagnated.

Elway’s been in the building for nearly a decade. He’s presided over the last five years, which has been the worst stretch since the AFL-NFL merger.

It’s time for a change. It’s time to turn the page.

Elway has been great for the Broncos, both on the field and in the front office. But his time has passed.

Manning is the future. He’s provides the path to what’s next.

Manning is relevant. He’s 2021. He’s today and tomorrow.

Peyton or John? Elway or Manning? 7 or 18?

The answer is Peyton “Freaking” Manning.


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Peyton Manning or John Elway? The choice is an easy one