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Old 03-27-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
Gutless Drunk
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Default The behind the scenes story of Peyton chase

I don't know what to do. What does a free agent do?

—PEYTON MANNING, March 7, to his quarterback mentor and friend, David Cutcliffe

This doesn't happen to legends with time left on the clock. Legends who can play—and Peyton Manning can still play, if his neck holds up—don't jet across the country from one city to the next in a two-week span to showcase themselves. And let teams showcase themselves to him. Manning, the highest profile free agent in NFL history, interviewed the teams that wanted him as much as they asked questions of him.

In a meeting with the Broncos on March 9 the four-time league MVP turned to coach John Fox's two chief aides, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, and inquired, "What about you guys? You one and done?" Meaning: Will you take the first head-coaching offer you get if we have success here in 2012?

The question surprised both men. Del Rio, fired as the Jaguars' coach three months earlier, said all he wanted to do was get back to hand-on coaching and away from the politics of the top job. McCoy said he turned down one head-coaching interview last year because it didn't feel right; he said he'd leave only for the right job.

On March 20, Manning was formally introduced as the Broncos' quarterback. There's been much speculation as to why he chose Denver over a team with a regional, nostalgic edge (Tennessee, where he'd gone to college) or a clearly better roster (San Francisco, which came within a game of the Super Bowl last season). The reason can be summed up in a word: familiarity. Familiarity with Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback who won two Super Bowls in his late 30s and with whom Manning shared a clear mutual respect. Familiarity, too, with Fox, a former college recruiter who put his skills of persuasion to good use; and with Del Rio, against whom Manning competed for years when Del Rio was coaching Jacksonville in the AFC South. Familiarity with good friend and Denver resident Brandon Stokley, the former Colts receiver, who hosted Manning on his two trips to Colorado during the process (and who might be in camp with the Broncos this summer). Familiarity with the teams on Denver's schedule in 2012, franchises Manning has faced a total of 93 times. "From talking with Peyton during the process," said Tony Dungy, his former coach with the Colts, "I sensed Denver was the closest thing he could find to what he had in Indianapolis."

And this: Manning likes to be in control. Of everything. In this process, he was. Elway played the game perfectly by doing precisely what Manning wanted him to do—make your case, then stay out of the way while I make my call.

The story of Manning's stressful fortnight of freedom includes misdirection car rides, secret meetings and workouts, and words of wisdom from trusted confidants. Here's how it went down.

CUT DAY AND THE DAY AFTER March 7--8

After an emotional farewell news conference in Indianapolis on the seventh, Manning spent an hour with 30 longtime Colts employees. "Maintenance, secretaries, equipment guys, everybody who'd been there a long time," he said. "Some guys leave a place after a long time, and they're bitter. Not me. But it was important for me to get closure."

He then flew to Miami, where he and his wife, Ashley, have a vacation home, and was annoyed to be chased by local news crews and a helicopter as if he were O.J. riding up the 405. One of his first phone calls that night was from Fox, who told Manning that the Broncos would love to have him visit when he was ready. From his 10 years working the phones and living rooms of recruits for eight college programs, Fox knows one of the keys is to get in on the ground floor.

Manning was uncertain what he would do—as recently as the day before he was released he had thought that he and the Colts might work things out—but his decision wasn't going to be about money. It was going to be about picking a place where he'd feel comfortable early on because of how quickly he'd have to mesh with a new team.

"He sounded bothered that night," Fox said. "Wasn't in his comfort zone."

Read more at: http://cnnsi.printthis.clickability....6623/index.htm

Last edited by Gutless Drunk; 03-27-2012 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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good read. shows Elway knew the right way to address the issue.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:49 AM   #3
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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Hard to fault the guy for wanting to go where he felt most comfortable. And kudos to Elway and Fox for helping to make him feel that way. They played it perfectly.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Great story.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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Damn. That was a really good read.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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Fascinating read. I love the behind the scenes stuff like this.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:15 AM   #8
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I had hoped someone would put together the pieces and write this story. Awesome.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:30 AM   #9
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And yet because the guy took awhile to decide, he was trashed on here constantly....wow.

Like the guy he's replacing, Peyton makes it easy for most people to like him
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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That was Manning's kind of stat. As was the next. "In your 14 years in Indianapolis," Fox said, "the Colts averaged 26 points per game. In my 10 years as a head coach [with the Panthers and the Broncos], when our teams scored 26 points or more, our record is 39--3."
That's impressive.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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That's impressive.
I'm sure Dungee said similar things about his Tampa Bay days when coming to the Colts. But he never built anything like Tampa's dominant defense in Indy.

Resources committed to offense take away from resources on defense, and vice versa.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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On Sunday, Manning knew he was choosing Denver. On Monday he made the phone calls. "I wish I hadn't gotten so close to Munch," Manning said. "That was a tough call. Same with Jim Harbaugh." When he called Elway to tell him the good news, Elway and Fox were discussing whether to make one final push for Manning. Elway answered the phone and gave Fox a thumbs-up. "I almost pulled both hamstrings," Fox said.

Fox is like us. Getting out of a chair involves risk to hammys.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:37 PM   #13
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I'm sure Dungee said similar things about his Tampa Bay days when coming to the Colts. But he never built anything like Tampa's dominant defense in Indy.

Resources committed to offense take away from resources on defense, and vice versa.
fair point. I actually think Dungy was asked by Irsay how he can put together a fair defense with practically no money.

Dungy relied on the draft and signed players to long contracts, dumped most players when those contracts were up (regardless of how good they were). And he developed a system who coveted unorthodox size players, players who were not high in demand (short and fast as opposed to big gap stuffers)

Actually, it is probably more accurate to say that this was Polians plan, not Dungy's. Dungy was just another part of that plan.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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good find Gutless
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #15
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Hopefully the next time somebody goes to post a comment about what an "idot" Peter King is when he writes something they disagree with they'll remember that all the people involved in this story (Manning, Elway, Fox, Dungy, etc.) thought enough of him to give him first dibs on all this inside scoop.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:11 PM   #16
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fair point. I actually think Dungy was asked by Irsay how he can put together a fair defense with practically no money.

Dungy relied on the draft and signed players to long contracts,
Unfortunately that plan makes much more sense with a 26 year old franchise QB than with a 36 year old one.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #17
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fair point. I actually think Dungy was asked by Irsay how he can put together a fair defense with practically no money.

Dungy relied on the draft and signed players to long contracts, dumped most players when those contracts were up (regardless of how good they were). And he developed a system who coveted unorthodox size players, players who were not high in demand (short and fast as opposed to big gap stuffers)

Actually, it is probably more accurate to say that this was Polians plan, not Dungy's. Dungy was just another part of that plan.
Thats Polian written all over that!
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:46 PM   #18
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Unfortunately that plan makes much more sense with a 26 year old franchise QB than with a 36 year old one.
Manning just will delay the search for a franchise QB than looking for one immediately with the garbage we just had.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:09 PM   #19
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Unfortunately that plan makes much more sense with a 26 year old franchise QB than with a 36 year old one.
I think that might be the plan you go with if Denver is looking for 10-13 regular season wins and little postseason success.

Manning was crucified in his early career for his postseason record. But all said and done, I think that's what the Colts built. Fact is, you need some defense in the postseason. Because at least some of those W's you got in midseason were games where your defense was "just good enough to win". But in the playoffs, that equates to teams like New England having anywhere from 0 to 2 punts a game, which most likely means an L for you.

Hey, we learn from history. To me, that was a Colts mistake that Denver doesn't appear to want to make. There is already a few team leaders here. Still time in free agency...still the draft coming up. Still some cap room. And we have Fox and Del Rio to put it all together THIS YEAR.
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