When John Elway gave Peyton the farm in order to entice him into coming to the Mile High City, he did so thinking that Peyton could do the one thing that Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte, Steve Beuerlein, Danny Kannell, Jarious Jackson, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Chris Simms, Kyle Orton, or Tim Tebow couldn't do.
Win another Super Bowl.
As great as it would be to see one of the greatest of all time hoisting the Lombardi Trophy overhead one more time it just isn't going to happen. History says so.
Peyton isn't the first legend to change teams in the twilight years of his career. Some of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game finished their careers on less than glorious notes with another team. While a couple of them did well with their new teams, none were able to get their new club into the Super Bowl:
Brett Favre: the Green Bay legend could have retired a Super Bowl champion, 3X-Most Valuable Player, 2X-NFC Champion, 11X-Pro Bowler, and walked away from the game loved by nearly all following the 2007 season. Instead, he came out of retirement twice to keep playing. In 2009 he did get the Vikings within a play of the Super Bowl, but came up short. He decided the money was too good to not play in 2010; huge mistake. He easily had the worst season of his career and ended it by getting hurt and missing his first start in 297 games to end the season.
Joe Montana: The third round pick out of Notre Dame soared to unbelievable heights of success in Bill Walsh's West Coast offense. The man did not play in a Super Bowl he couldn't win (4 for 4), was named MVP in three of them. When he hurt his elbow and Steve Young proved he was a beast the team had no choice but to let him go. He was able to lead his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, to the playoffs twice, but without the talent to play with and numerous injuries, he was never able to take them very far.
Joe Namath: Broadway Joe was the original player of all players in the NFL. Showboats only wish they could be as cool as he was back in the 70s. After winning an AFL Championship (prior to the merger) and then Super Bowl III no one would have faulted him for retiring, especially as the injuries piled up late in his career. Instead he gave it one more try with the Los Angeles Rams for the '77 season. Let's just say it was an epic fail.
Johnny Unitas: Johnny "the Golden Arm" Unitas was an unbelievable leader for the Baltimore Colts for 17 incredible seasons that saw him lead the team to two pre-merger championships and another in Super Bowl V to go with being a 10X-Pro Bowler and 3X-NFL MVP. After such a long career he could have easily hung it up with pride when the Colts wanted to move on in '73, but he wanted to play more. So he went to the San Diego Chargers where he played in five games and threw more interceptions (7) than he did touchdowns (3).
There are few things that go without saying-- cold beer is much better than hot beer, Jack Bauer is the Man, less is more when it comes to a hot chick on the beach, and Peyton Manning is one of the best--if not the best--quarterback to ever play the game. However, the talent pool in Denver is a lot like what Montana had in Kansas City; good/okay, but not great.
Four great QBs; all failed to win the Super Bowl after switching teams late in their careers. While Peyton Manning will make a huge difference in the post season fortunes of the Broncos, he is only one man and one man can only do so much.