Peyton Manning made his decision and he’ll be playing in Denver  — one of the great football towns in America — next season.

But, according to, Manning shouldn’t be expecting a trip to the Super Bowl anytime soon.

Too bad Peyton doesn’t play defense, too.

The sobering Cold, Hard Football Fact is that the defense in Denver last year was as bad or worse as any of the widely criticized units that Manning played with in Indianapolis. We compared each of Manning’s 13 Indy defenses with the one that Denver fielded in 2011 in three categories: total defense (not particularly important), scoring defense (incredibly important) and Defensive Passer Rating (also incredibly important).

Here’s how the 2011 Broncos stacked up against each of the defenses that Manning played with during his 13 years as the starting QB in Indianapolis.

  • Only two Colts teams gave up more yards than the 2011 Broncos (1998, 2004)
  • Only two Colts teams gave up more points than the 2011 Broncos (1998, 2011)
  • Only one Colts team gave up a higher Defensive Passer Rating than the 2011 Broncos (1998)
  • Manning played with four defenses in Indy that ranked in the top 8 in scoring
  • Denver has fielded three defenses that ranked in the top 8 in scoring since Manning was a rookie in 1998.”

The man who wrote the story, Kerry Byrne, will be on my talks show at 1:00 tomorrow on TribLive Radio.




  • colt

    Speaking of baseball, John, former Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell died at 89 years old. Here is what is interesting: In 1949 he was 27 and 7. with a 2.77 era. Not just that, but he actually pitched 27 complete games that year! Any chance that happens again?

    • John Steigerwald


    • Shecky

      An entire division may not have 27 complete games nowadays.

  • Ken

    Because of Tebow, I’m surprised that Manning went to Denver. (Also because there were better teams he could have gone to.)

    I fully expect Manning to play great. But with every incomplete pass, or with every loss, regardless of how well he played, there will be fans and media screaming for Tebow.

    If I were him, I’d have avoided that circus and headed for Arizona or Miami. Arizona isn’t a great team but it has some great parts, and their division makes for an easy run for a wild card at least. Miami seemed and even better choice, a team with potential that lacks a QB.

  • youroldproducer

    stags… denver is making a deal with the devil… literally… peyton is 36, with a bad neck, and a lotta miles…

    and they risking bad karma by benching tebow… remember, the last team to bench “Jesus” was the romans, and look what happened their empire???!!!”

    peyton wont get by week 4… tebow goes to jax, sells a bunch of tshirts until the find out he is bobby douglas re-incarnated…

    • John Steigerwald

      You could be right. But Manning is the same age that Elway was when he finally won a Super Bowl. Broncos should keep Tebow around so that he can lay hands upon Peyton’s neck.

      • Bobzilla

        Salary cap probably prevents the Broncos from keeping both. Tebow was a first-round draft pick, and he probably is paid like one.

        • John Steigerwald

          I think I heard that before signing Manning, the Broncos were $40 million under that cap.

          • Bobzilla

            If the Broncos are going to build the team into one that can win even with Manning, they are going to have to put that $40 million to good use. Keeping Tebow, who has been traded to the Jets, didn’t make sense. Besides, Brady Quinn is an adequate backup.

          • Gazoo

            Brady Quinn isn’t in Denver. he signed with the Chiefs.

  • The Machinist

    Tebow stinks period. He had one good game against the Steelers who had a putrid game plan. He will not make it through the season as a starter bet on that. If Manning is healthy the Broncos are an instant super bowl contender. With a healthy Manning at QB the defense needs to be adequate, and Manning will take care of the rest. Tebows a bum who will be out of the league within two years, or regulated to third string duty. Another note, the fan sucks. The shows are mind numbingly boring. Who the hell wants to listen to callers all day, many of who make such idiotic comments you wonder if they know anything about sports.

  • jwit

    i moved to indy right before they drafted peyton. Watched him a lot. I think he will struggle early in denver. He has always relied on tons of practice and preparation, almost maniacal preparation. He throws a tight, flat ball with very little loft. Consequently, his passes are timed and right on due to countless rehersal. His balls leave no margin for error. Becasue they are lasered in with great timing, if its off a foot or two, its incomplete. Other guys have a little more margin for a throw being off as it has more air under it and allows for adjustment by the reciever. His do not.

    Off of bye weeks or weeks off he always struggles until he gets the timing and perfect execution back. He will not have countless hours of route running with his new reciever as he has had in the past. He will not have time to develop a shorthand for the entire playbook with his new teammates. He willl struggle early and get better as the year goes on.

    THe other curious thing about going to denver is that he always was less effective on grass and outdoors, particularly in wind and snow. Not sure he will be great. I think he will be good, but not like he was for the last decade.

    • Dan

      I agree and I think it’s a curious decision. I wouldve liked to see Dallas try to get a deal done for him and move Romo somehow, or go to Arizona. I think Miami wouldn’t have been the greatest fit because he would have had to still go on the road to New York, New England, and Buffalo, possibly in December.

      • Tim

        Denver gets pretty cold in December and January too

  • Dan

    Wasn’t the defense a lot better once Tebow took over? With the exception of the New England loss I remember every game being tight and low-scoring. When Orton was in there they were getting blown out byt ridiculous numbers.

    Manning changes a defense though. When he’s in there, your team is playing from ahead a lot. The Colts eventually built that defense around pass rushers and pass defenders because they were playing with a lead so often – they made it so all Dwight Freeney had to worry about was pinning his ears back. Then this year, the same defense looked awful because it never played with the lead. They couldn’t stop the run to save their lives. Guys like Dumervil and Miller will look twice as dominant when they’re up 14 points in the second quarter.

    The point is don’t look into these numbers too much. Take the same exact defense and put two different QBs out there leading the offense on the same team and you can have radically different results.

    • John Steigerwald

      Orton turned it over a lot. Tebow did not.

      • Dan

        I wouldn’t want Tebow quarterbacking my cIub but there just has to be some coach out there who could find a way to use him, no? It’s obvious John Fox had no use for the guy and is happy to have him gone.

        I also know tonight’s Pens game is/was way more entertaining than any Bronco game will be this year. What a show the big guns put on tonight. That’s hockey at it’s finest – forwards allowed to do what they are paid to do, defensemen who play well but aren’t in any position to dominate the forwards, and lots of action. There was one commercial break from 11:30 left in the second until the end of the period. That’s phenomenal.

      • Bobzilla

        The Broncos (John Fox) allowed Tebow to throw the ball sometimes a whole four or five times in games. Pretty difficult to turn the ball over playing that kind of football.
        The Broncos were 1-4 in their final five games of the 2011 season. Their lone win was against the Steelers, mainly because LeBeau prepared his defense for the Tebow who wasn’t allowed to pass. LeBeau guessed wrong.
        The Broncos’ defense, meanwhile, held the Steelers’ woeful offense to two field goals in the first half. Neither the Broncos nor the Steelers were legit playoff teams last season.
        I’ll take Kyle Orton over Tebow most anytime.

        • John Steigerwald

          They were 1-4 with the guy they allowed to throw.

          • Bobzilla

            Might have something to do with the Broncos not being a very good team.

  • Goose

    what happens if manning gets hurt?

    he’s 36 – tebow might not be going anywhere

    • Haas

      I was thinking the same thing. Manning might be one good hit from being retired for good. Nothing wrong with letting Tebow become an understudy for a couple of years and learn from one of the best but for some reason Elway and Fox are not thinking that way.

  • Matt

    I don’t see Manning getting it done in the cold weather in January. He should have went to another dome or warm weather team. San Francisco would have been a better choice.

  • JC

    Sweet, I could use an afternoon nap. Nothing like mundane football stats at the end of March to put me to sleep. That’s much more interesting than anything The Fan is doing. What great and compelling “internet radio.”

    • John Steigerwald

      Call the Fan and give them your thoughts on the Manning deal. Or maybe you could give them your thoughts on the Pirates bullpen. The Manning signing is the biggest story in sports. The guy I will have on will have a totally unique perspective on what Tebow meant to the Broncos and why Manning’s not going to make much of a difference. Don’t listen. We’ll try to make it without you. Say hi to Vinny for me.

      • colt

        Speaking of Vinny from the “Vinny and Cook” thing at the Fan, he seems like a likable enough guy. I mean, it seems that he would be more pleasant to have lunch with than Ron Cook. But, having heard him several times, I really get the impression that he is not all that informed about sports. Maybe I am wrong, but that is how he comes across to me.

        Any thoughts, John, or would you rather not say? What do others think? Am I missing something with this guy?

        He is also the king of the unfished sentence. Listen to him sometime and you will pick up on it right away.

        • John Steigerwald

          I don’t want to get into individual hosts. They are all at a disadvantage because of the station’s stupid philosophy of letting listeners drive the content.

        • Ken

          I think Vinny has definitely tried hard to learn about the local teams, and seems to have embraced Pittsburgh as a home.

          But I agree. Nice guy, but doesn’t come off as all that knowledgable at times, except for baseball.

      • Bobzilla

        I missed the show, and I wish I hadn’t. But I’m guessing your guest had a lot of nice things to say about Tebow, who inherited a 1-4 team and “led” it to a 1-4 finish. The fact that a team can qualify for the postseason with such an horrific quarterback and putrid offense ought to be an embarassment to the NFL. Obviously, it was an embarassment to John Elway.
        I find Manning’s interest in the Broncos to be puzzling. I don’t see him as being even remotely a “good fit.” The question now is whether or not the Broncos can unload Tebow. I suppose either Jacksonville or Miami might have some interest. Both franchises need to sell tickets. Tebow would probably do that … short term.
        Meanwhile, Peyton Manning in Denver? I don’t get it.

        • John Steigerwald

          He pointed out that, as ugly as Tebow may have looked at times, he didn’t turn the ball over and was very efficient. Kyle Orton turned it over a lot and the Broncos were 1-4. With Tebow they were 8-5, including 1-1 in the playoffs. relies heavily on what they call the passer rating differential. That’s the difference between your QB’s passer rating and opposing QB’s passer rating against your defense. They went back 70 years and found that a huge percentage of championship teams led the league in that stat.

        • Tony D

          Yeah, the only thing I can see is the AFC factor. I believe he said he wanted to stay in the AFC. Other than that, it makes no sense. He would instantly make San Fran a Super Bowl contender.

          • Bobzilla

            I doubt that Manning was willing to put up with Jim Harbaugh’s know-it-all, smartest-guy-in-th-room earrogance. Just a hunch.

      • jethro bodine

        the FAN sucks!!! ever since that station landed the contract to broadcast the pirate games, their whole bash the bucs attitude is now we kiss their ass attitude. in the past we would always here YOUR BUCCOS lost again ect, and now they whole morning and mid day on air boys are breaking out the k-y-jelly and the rubber gloves.

        and one other note. PAYTON will do just fine in denver as well as team. if payton puts up the points the defence can play as bad as they did last season and still beat other teams, even YOUR PITTSBURGH STILLERS

  • George Washington

    I was pretty shocked when he chose Denver. SF would give him a GREAT chance to win a super bowl. Den has too many holes. I guess it’s not all about rings, after all. He has 95 million other reasons to play.

    • Ken

      I thought Miami was a great fit for him.

  • Gary M

    What’s up with all this Manning talk?
    The big news is that Pitt reached the final 4 !!
    Jamie Dixon’s demons are exorcised.
    Ah, that CBI is the elixir of hope.
    I mean, Duquesne chose not to go to this thing. The entry fee may have had something to do with it. Do you really think that Duquesne fans would flock to the games? I mean their premium, full season package is $424. That’s got to be the cost of a Pitt floor seat.

  • Ken

    The Broncos seem to have a reputation for good defense. That must stem from the Orange Crush in the ’70s. As you point out, it wasn’t good at all.

    But, having Manning and an offense that will score more points and punt much less will makes for a better defense. Statistics can be deceiving. You give up more yards and point when you’re on the field a lot.

  • ISteve Roissy

    SHHH! With the Penguins domination the local media needs something to panic the populace about.

  • Tim

    Peyton Manning (if healthy) will GREATLY help that Denver defense. He will limit opposing teams possession, not turn the ball over and give the opposing team poor field position, all of which helps the defense. The Indy D made there living by letting Peyton seize the lead and then unleashing Freeney and Mathis on the opposing QB. Denver has Von Miller and Elvis Dumervill, both good pash rushers. Its exceedingly foolish to count them out.

  • Tony D

    John Elway said he was a fan of Tebow. He was never a fan of Tebow.

    • Ken

      Maybe he’s a fan of Tebow as a person, which is easy to be.

    • Gazoo


      Tebow ruined the Jets’ season by running wild on that 95-yard endgame drive in Denver. The home quarterback had been dreadful for most of the night, honoring Darrelle Revis’ contention that he was a bore. But then Revis whiffed on a Tebow tackle, and then Eric Smith missed his target on a blitz, and then Tebow was flexing his comic book arms in the end zone before the Jets went home a complete 5-5 wreck.

      On his way to the parking lot that night, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen stopped long enough to say of Tebow, “I believe he’ll be a great one. Better keep him around.”

      The Broncos didn’t bother. That same night, John Elway was practically sprinting through the locker room and away from two reporters hoping for a few comments on Tebow’s magical drive. “It was great,” Elway said without breaking stride. “Awesome.”

      And then he pushed through a door and disappeared. All along, Elway was waiting for someone like Peyton Manning to save him from the Tebow craze.

      Denver’s executive VP of football operations never believed his unconventional quarterback could sustain conventional long-term success, and his full-court press of Peyton proved it. Elway couldn’t wait to ship Tebow far, far away from the senior Manning, making him Eli’s new high-profile neighbor in the Jersey marshes.