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Hoping one of the best ever likes Bronco orange

Mar 13, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

My fingers are crossed. My toes are crossed. The few hairs that I have left on my head are crossed. I don't want to lose $0. I want to end up winning $50.

And I want Peyton Manning to choose Denver Bronco orange over Arizona Cardinals red, Tennessee Titan blue or Miami orangish, greenish aqua.

Please, please, please, Peyton. Become a Bronco.

By most accounts, the Peyton Manning sweepstakes are down to maybe three or four teams, Denver, Arizona, Miami and Tennessee. Unless you've been on vacation on the moon, you know that the former Indianapolis Colt and now free agent Manning visited Denver and John Elway last week to discuss whether the Broncos will be a good fit for the great quarterback to finish his career.

I've made exactly two significant (in my terms) sports related bets this past year, each for $25, both to the same guy, and I've already won one of them. I'll know the first week in September whether I'll relish in stealing both bets from my friend John.

The first bet that we made last fall was just after the Denver Broncos named Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback, replacing Kyle Orton. I couldn't then, and can't now, stomach the thought of a passing-inept Bronco team trying to rewrite the way normal NFL teams conduct their offensive schemes.

So, just after Denver introduced us to Tebowing on a weekly basis, I bet John that the super-nice Tebow would not be Denver's starting quarterback on opening day 2012. John, and much of the country, was riding high on Tebow's bandwagon.

And then Tebow and his his defense won six straight, starting with the Raiders in week nine.

My bet looked to be like a sure loser.

During the streak was the NFL's week 11. Denver beat the Jets 17-13. Leading rusher? Tebow with 68 yards. Leading passer? Tebow with 104 yards. Anemic.

If you are a Bronco fan -- I am -- do you really want to watch a team that is interesting only in the last five minutes of a game? Isn't that called the NBA? Maybe that is the kind of team your wife likes. It gives you more time to work on her honey-do list since you only need to tune in to the Broncos during crunch time.

Last season, week 15 gave me a chance to hedge my first bet. It was the week after Chicago lost (Denver did not win) to the Broncos. You remember when the Bears' Marian Barber first went out of bounds, stopping the clock when he should have stayed in during the final two minutes of the game and then, on his team's next possession, fumbled, allowing Matt Prater to kick a 57-yard game winner for Denver.

Because it looked like I was set up to lose my original wager, I really didn't think Super Tim could beat Super Tom (Brady) in week 15 when Denver hosted New England.

I baited John, and he bit. Double or nothing is the way I looked at it. Another $25 was wagered that New England would beat Denver. And I won, so I'm plus $25, at least for now.

We are waiting to see if Peyton Manning can make me, and especially the Broncos, a winner again come September.

Look at the last nine Super Bowl winning starting quarterbacks: Brady, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning.

Passers, yes. Unconventional? No.

Sports is all about hope. Peyton Manning as a Bronco, fixed neck and all, fits that bill for me better than Tim Tebow, which is too bad, because I do like the guy.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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