In the hopes to upgrade their team from AFC West champs to potential Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos are actively courting future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Any team that doesn’t have an elite caliber signal caller must do their due diligence and at least investigate what it would take to sign the 11-time Pro Bowler as the window of opportunity for any team is extremely limited.
The Broncos met with Manning on Friday for approximately six hours and he left on Saturday for a meeting with the Arizona Cardinals. According to a Broncos team official, there is “nothing set” for another meeting in Denver.
For any team that “flirts” with Peyton Manning, there are potential repercussions that ensue. Quarterback is the most important position in sports and it’s certainly the most sensitive. It’s difficult for starting signal callers to perform at their best when a fan base is divided or if they don’t have full support from the front office.
Denver has one of the most volatile quarterback situations in the league as starting quarterback Tim Tebow is currently the most polarizing figure in sports. While managing to win seven of 11 starts sometimes in improbable fashion. Tebow owned the league’s worst completion percentage (46.5 percent).
The Broncos current spread style of offense with Tebow has struggled mightily when facing opponents for a second time. The two teams (Kansas City and New England) that faced Tebow twice this season both defeated Denver and the Broncos offense scored a total of 13 points.
Despite the mantra of “he just wins games,” Broncos czar John Elway is yet to fully commit to the young quarterback although he did say that Tim was “the starting quarterback entering training camp.”
The strong flirtation with Peyton Manning may draw a line in the sand from the veiled Tebow supportive/non-supportive statements from Broncos ownership. If Manning does come to terms with Denver, Tebow will likely be relegated to the bench and it would be difficult to maintain harmony throughout the ranks.
While the support from the front office has been anything but unconditional, Tebow has still taken the high road.
“I’m just happy for the opportunity that the Denver has given me and I am going to do my very best to win games for this great organization,” Tebow said when asked about the organizations commitment to him in a Sirius/XM interview during the season.
If Denver swings and misses on Manning, this isn’t a “no harm, no foul” situation. There is still a certain amount of damage done by the organization not standing behind their guy 100 percent, signaling that Tebow really isn’t their guy.
With a split fan base in Denver, non-support of the starting quarterback will only make a potentially divisive situation more divisive, especially in the locker room. The Broncos have drawn somewhat of a line in the sand and they are standing on one side of it and Tim Tebow appears to be standing directly across from them, not behind.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie