There are so many reasons to be excited about the state of Bronco Nation today that I don't even know where to start. Oh wait, yes I do:
CUT THAT MEAT!! CUT THAT MEAT!!
That's right folks, Peyton Manning is coming to Denver. And in case you haven't guessed, I am going all in on Peyton Manning and the 2012 Denver Broncos. All. In.
I followed every second of Peyton's introductory press conference via Twitter (thanks Lindsay Jones); I may or may not have cried a little when I saw this Bowlen-Manning-Elway picture online; and I will now continuously refresh the Broncos' online store until I can finally buy my very own bright orange Peyton Manning jersey.
It's probably foolish, and I should probably know better, but I don't care. We haven't had a reason to be this excited in Broncoland for a long, LONG time; so I am throwing caution to the wind. Peyton Manning, I love you.
But let's not stop at Peyton Manning. Broncos fans have lots of reasons to be deliriously and unapologetically excited today. In fact, even more exciting than the man that will be the Broncos' quarterback in 2012, is the man that won't.
WARNING: I am about to say semi-negative things about Tim Tebow. If you are nursing, pregnant, may become pregnant, or have deluded yourself into thinking that Tebow is the Broncos' quarterback of the future, please skip the next paragraph.
Yes, as much as I respect Tim Tebow as a football player and a man (seriously, I do), and as much fun as I had watching the Broncos last year (easily my favorite Broncos season since 1998-99), I am happy that Tim Tebow will not be the Broncos' quarterback next season. And believe it or not, it isn't because I doubt Tebow's ability to become a franchise quarterback some day. (Sure I'm skeptical, but if there is one thing Tebow taught me last year, it's that nothing is impossible.)
No, the reason I am happy to be without Tebow next year is that I don't want the Broncos to win the Super Bowl "some day," I want them to win it now. And Tim Tebow, even if he improves dramatically in the offseason, is not capable of winning a Super Bowl now. I know it, you know it, and the Broncos' brass knows it. That's why as soon as Peyton Manning became available, the Broncos struck, and they struck fast.
Which brings me to yet another reason to be over-the-moon excited about The Peyton Purchase: We. Won.
In a world where the Broncos already had one celebrity quarterback, where Peyton was offered a lifetime contract from a team in the state where he is a God, and where the Broncos were not once mentioned among the teams that the "experts" thought might sign him, the Broncos somehow came away as the winners of the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes.
This is monumentally important for two reasons.
First, it means that the Broncos are a strong enough franchise (and John Elway is a strong enough executive) to attract the biggest and best free agent in NFL history. This is good news.
Second, it is yet another indication that Pat Bowlen is one of the best (if not the best) owners in sports. Think about it: On December 1, 2010, Josh McDaniels was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, and the Broncos were quickly becoming the laughing stock of the NFL. Less than 16 months later, the Broncos are the defending AFC West champions, they have the (newly minted) best executive in football, their head coach is the anti-McDaniels, and oh by the way, Peyton Manning is now their quarterback.
Because Pat Bowlen recognized that the state of the Broncos was unacceptable and he did something about it. Well done Mr. Bowlen, well done.
So yeah, for all of those reasons and more, I am so ridiculously proud and excited to be a Broncos fan today that I can barely stand it. Sure, this could all blow up over the next year and the Broncos could be back at square one. But who cares? For now, I'm all in; and you should be too.
Follow Ari Shapiro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/shapiro_ari