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Peyton Manning: Why did he choose the Denver Broncos? (+video)

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But there are certain factors that appear too compelling to ignore. 

The Elway factor

Most obvious is that when Manning looks in the football mirror these days, the man he most wants to see is John Elway

A little more than a decade ago, Elway was nearing the end of his career. He was considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation – and perhaps ever – but there was a gigantic void in his résumé: he had never won a Super Bowl. 

By 1999, he had retired having won two Super Bowls in his final two seasons. Now he's the Broncos general manager. 

Manning, of course, has won a Super Bowl. But just one. When the assembled talking heads of football wisdom gather Sunday mornings to grant and withdraw immortality to today's players, Manning almost always comes second when talk turns to quarterbacks. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl wins, the argument inevitably goes. Even Manning's kid brother, Eli, now has two.

If Manning could pull an Elway, the entire conversation would change. Manning, of course, probably doesn't care much about "the conversation." He would, however, care deeply about the shiny trophy. 

So, in the end, who understands better how to do what John Elway did than John Elway? In Denver, Manning is allying himself with perhaps the only person in pro football management who knows what it is like to be Peyton Manning. 

The lunch-pail factor

There are other factors, too.

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