Apr 20, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorDenver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is my new favorite National Football League player.
Last year it was Tim Tebow. It took some time getting used to cheering for Tebow, but I managed to jump on his bandwagon.
The best part of Tebow's short career at Denver was when he directed the Broncos past the Pittsburgh Steelers in dramatic, overtime fashion in the playoffs.
Tebow will always have a special place in my heart because of the way he handles himself on the field and off.
Then came the news when the Indianapolis Colts decided to cut ties with Manning. At first, I didn't think the Broncos would get in the race for Manning, but Broncos executive vice president John Elway decided to jump in. The rest is history. I trust what Elway does for the Broncos.
Elway and former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone are on top of my list of favorite former pro athletes list. I still look up to them for what they did when they played and talk about them all the time.
I was a little surprised Elway traded Tebow to the New York Jets right away, but he must know what he is doing. He played in the spotlight and he delivered time and time again with his amazing comeback style.
Now Manning has risen to my No. 1 position on the current favorite NFL list. I didn't cheer for Manning at all when he was winning game after game with the Colts. But now he is with the Broncos.
Manning is a big-time leader on. He knows how to get his team into the playoffs. Manning has struggled at times and is coming off a neck injury, but he already has a Super Bowl ring. He wants another.
Elway is going to make sure Manning has enough firepower to get a title for Denver in the next few years.
The first major step for the Broncos is to find is a backup for Manning in the quarterback position.
The perfect place for the process to begin is at the NFL draft Thursday in New York. Three names out there are Arizona State's Brock O'Sweiler, Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State and Kellen Moore of Boise State.
Weeden and Moore are the two draft projects I'd like Denver to be in the running to get to play behind Manning.
The two are coming off outstanding seasons whey they guided their teams to great records.
Either player would be fine with me. They would give me a little hope just in case something happens to Manning. I don't think anything will, but you never known what is going to happen on the football field.
The Broncos should also think about getting more depth on the offensive line to protect Manning. Denver did have one of the top lines during the 2011-12 season.
Denver's defense also needs to get stronger on the line to make things difficult for the opposing quarterback.
Denver does need to add a couple of more targets for Manning at the wide receiver position.
What ever happens next Thursday in New York will begin the focus point on the 2012-13 season.
The best thing about the season is No. 18 will be in a Denver uniform, and I will be cheering for him every step of the way.
Heck, I might even have to break down and buy a Manning jersey.
Let the Manning hype get bigger and bigger.
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