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The Denver Broncos were 60-to-1 at the LVH Super Bowl to win next year’s Super Bowl with the assumption Tim Tebow would be their starting quarterback – attractive odds for a team that just beat Pittsburgh in the NFL playoffs.

But how about if we insert Peyton Manning into the equation and subtract Tebow, is it even more appealing?

Of course it is, but those odds are long gone. Try 10-to-1 now, making the Broncos one of the favorites to win along with the Packers (5-1), Saints (6-1), Patriots (7-1) and Texans (10-1). The slide in the odds all started with the campaign trail two weeks ago when Manning made his visits to potential suitors.

“We had dropped the Broncos and Titans down to 20-1 and the 49ers to 8-1 when we found out about where he was visiting, said LVH assistant manager Jeff Sherman. “And when it became official today (Monday morning), we slashed it down to 10-1 as more of an initial reactionary move so we can further analyze what his impact on the Broncos will truly be, which could lead us to either raising or lowering Denver.”

With the courtship now over in San Francisco and Tennessee, the 49ers are back up to 20-1 and the Titans 50-1. The 49ers could also see their odds dive even more if their quarterback, free-agent Alex Smith, signs with Miami.

The Manning signing in Denver now sets the stage for key personnel moves to support their new investment. An offense is sure to be put in place to accentuate all of Manning’s talents and with that will require a few more players. One notable free-agent is Jeff Saturday, his center for 12 years in Indianapolis.

The Broncos have had a plan A and B in place for acquiring free-agents and draft picks. Plan A was getting Manning and plan B was life as they knew it with Tebow.

Trading Tebow now seems like a certainty, but who really wants to change their entire offensive structure for a unproven passer? One candidate could be Jacksonville and its sagging attendance. Tebow could probably win the Governors election in Florida if he ran. That’s how popular he is there and certainly isn’t any worse than first-round draft pick from last season and expected starter Blaine Gabbert.

The Jaguars could be pretty dangerous on the ground with Maurice Jones-Drew and Tebow running together, but we’ll have to see if that ever materializes. Jacksonville is currently 100-1 to win the Super Bowl.

The only quarterback available that could have eased the love affair Denver has with Tebow was Manning and VP of football operations John Elway knew it. Getting a future hall-of-fame QB to lead the offense in a traditional way and roll the dice for a two-or-three-year window of legitimately being a contender to win the Super Bowl definitely takes the sting out within the city of demoting or trading Tebow.

Elway didn’t like Tebow’s passing skills and never gave him a vote of confidence, despite all the dramatic come from behind wins. But you have to give Elway credit; he never wavered on his stance or got caught up in the hype. He is the boss of the team and the results ultimately his own, win or lose. He might as well be comfortable with his own team if it defines his front-office legacy.

However, just because the odds on the Broncos have dropped considerably because of the Manning signing, it doesn’t mean that he will pick up the pace right where he left off in Indianapolis. Manning passed a physical exam administered by Broncos team doctors, but let’s face it, he’s been out an entire season and he’ll be 36 years old later this month.

Should this $95 million investment Elway made not work out while the younger and maturing Tebow goes elsewhere and works his same magic into the playoffs, Elway could fall into the same category class of Michael Jordan in terms of great players not panning out in executive roles. But it looks like it was gamble Elway put his chips ‘all in’ with.

We’ll have to see how it all unfolds, but it definitely gives us some early fuel for the anticipated 2012 season.


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