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Broncos need Manning but he's not the answer

I look at the Denver Broncos' pursuit of Peyton Manning and I see an intricate storyline.

It's almost like AMC's "The Killing," where multiple plots are weaved together. If you missed "The Killing" or are boycotting the show because of its Season 1 ending, try a more popular example, "Seinfeld," where two plots meet at the end.

First, there's Manning's search for a new home after the Indianapolis Colts decided to go in a different direction.

While there are plenty of people hailing the Broncos as Super Bowl contenders with Manning as quarterback, let's not crown them -- or Manning -- just yet.

Manning missed the entire season with multiple neck surgeries. He's also 36. Those are two big strikes against him.

He'll also be without All-Pro receivers like Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne. Manning's top running back, Willis McGahee, will hit an over-the-hill-for-a-running-back 31 during the 2012 season.

And will the Broncos' offensive line be able to protect Manning? There will be a huge target on Manning's orange-and-blue uniform.

Then there's Tim Tebow, the twentysomething superstar Manning will replace.

I didn't think Tebow was the Broncos' answer during the season. I didn't think he was the Broncos' answer after the Broncos' upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.

I thought the Broncos would take a step back in 2012 with Tebow as the quarterback. Maybe Broncos president John Elway thought something similar.

The Broncos ran an antiquated offense, not because of Tebow's abilities as a quarterback. They did it, in my opinion, because Tebow wasn't a quarterback.

That's why the Broncos and Elway needed Manning.

The only way they could get rid of Tebow without an uproar from the fans was with Manning.
 
But can Manning win it all in Denver? I have trouble believing that.

Manning's not known for being a big-game quarterback. He's known for his regular-season accomplishments.

It's probably not cool to bring this up on a day where he's being treated as royalty, but Manning has a 9-10 playoff record. Take away the gift of playing Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl, and Manning still would be searching for that elusive first title.

Meanwhile, Peyton's little brother, Eli, has passed him up as being a clutch quarterback.

Finally, will fans be patient with Peyton during a losing streak?

There was such a passion for Tebow last season it was remarkable. With all the hype Tebowmania brought to Denver, anything but a Super Bowl trip could be viewed as a failure for Elway and Manning.

That's what makes this whole thing interesting.

Welcome to the pressure cooker, Peyton. 

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