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Published on 03/27/2012 at Tue Mar 27 11:22.
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Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, quarterback Peyton Manning, and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway (Pennsinger/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco, but the behind-the-scenes details of how that came to be hadn’t been told. Until now.

Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King breaks down the story of how the Broncos landed the biggest free agent in NFL history in his latest excellent column. Read it from Page 1 to 6 for tales of subterfuge, but in case you’re strapped for time, here are a number of highlights (we will break down each of these in-depth throughout the next few days) —

  • John Fox knows a thing or two about recruiting.
  • The Redskins and Mike Shanahan were more in play than anyone — including themselves, perhaps — knew.
  • Jack Del Rio and Mike McCoy told Manning they plan to stick around. Probably.
  • Broncos’ PR director Patrick Smyth played a big role in wooing Manning.
  • A comfortability with a confident John Elway is what ultimately sold Manning.

I’m eager to bring you my thoughts on some (perhaps each) of these anecdotes soon, but in the meantime, read and enjoy.

Peyton Manning’s Long Game [Sports Illustrated]

  • Jon

    Patrick. Smyth. Rocks.

    He’s classy, professional and extremely personable.

  • areferee

    Regarding Manning’s call to Elway with his decision:

    “Elway answered the phone and gave Fox a thumbs-up. “I almost pulled both hamstrings,” Fox said. – Peter King,


  • Anonymous

    Cool read.  I think Manning and Elway will achieve great things together.  

  • Jon

    I also love when Elway text Shanahan to put in a good word for us!

  • Tim Lynch

    Nothing would make me happier.  I’ll be holding my breath until I see Manning play a few games. 

  • Anonymous

    Yeah so did I.  Also thought the reaction Elway got from Manning about the Washington trade was interesting.  Didn’t realize they were ever in it.

  • Tom9798

    Thanks Monty . . . I read the six pages and it was one of the most insightful and enjoyable sports pieces I have read!

  • Tom9798

    Thanks Monty . . . I read the six pages and it was one of the most insightful and enjoyable sports pieces I have read!

  • Anonymous

    One other point… I believe Todd Helton had a little something to do with it as well.  

    I can’t stand Mark Kizla from the post, but he did write a great article (at least I think it was him) this morning.  PM and TH are very good friends.  I am sure that is one of the people he reached out to in this process.

    Helton is a class act from head to toe. Glad the Rockies are doing the right thing by letting him finish his career in Denver.

  • Monty

    I wanted to post my thoughts in-depth on some of those nuggets, but it already seems too late to do so. Hate when time slips away from me like that.

  • Monty

    Heading into the Manning sweepstakes Helton talked to the Denver Post about coming in to help recruit PM if asked. I never heard whether that came to fruition, but it was a good idea all around.

    I’m sure Manning, being the dedicated homeworker he is, reached out to him about the Denver area at the least.