In March of this year, Peyton Manning picked the Denver Broncos as his next team over multiple suitors including the San Francisco 49ers (assuming of course that the niners were doing more than just evaluating Manning).
The general consensus seemed to be that he should have picked the niners over the broncos if he wanted the best chance to win and the niners were definitely the better team. But I think most everyone forgot how important strength of schedule and health is for winning in the NFL. And the strength of schedule affects the health of the team as well, considering the more you play good teams, the more you get beat up. On a somewhat related note, the NFC is loaded this year and none of the current contenders look like they are about to step back in the next few years. Conversely, the AFC is weaker than I can ever remember (only two teams with winning records through weeks) and is likely to get even weaker as the Steelers and Ravens defenses age.
Now consider this, if he wins a superbowl (or two?) in Denver, Manning gets all the credit and adds one more notch to his greatest QB of all time title belt. Whereas if he had won with niners, there’d be plenty of people (read Patriot Fans) who would have said that the niners were already loaded and that Manning shouldn’t get any credit.
So to sum up, what seemed like a dumb decision by Manning, made ostensibly because he didn’t want to play against his brother, looks pretty solid now.
Do you think Manning thought of all this when he made his decision? And if he did, how ingeniously diabolical is that?