Tim Tebow still has devout Denver Broncos fans to this day, but they are fewer than they would have been if John Elway had brought on anyone other than Peyton Manning to replace him back in 2012.
This is a fact Elway was well aware of when he brought Manning on board. He reminisced about the move, noting Elway was the only man who could possibly tamp down Tebowmania.
“Because (Tim) Tebow had such a fan base behind him — there was probably only one guy that we could have replaced him with that people would understand,” Elway said, via Nicki Jhavbala of the Denver Post. “And that was Peyton Manning.”
Remember, Elway replaced Tebow the offseason after he had just led the Broncos to a magnificent, miraculous playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
He brought the team back in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then hit Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard touchdown pass to win the game.
Tebowmania was at an all-time high, despite the fact that the New England Patriots wiped the floor with Tebow and the Broncos the next week, 45-10.
Many fans wondered why Elway would consider bringing in Manning, who was recovering from four neck surgeries, in to replace Tebow. After all, nobody had a clue whether or not Manning would be able to play at a high level after missing the previous season.
Obviously, Elway made the right choice. Manning came back in epic fashion, winning a Super Bowl and setting passing records to become a Broncos legend.