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Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow And The Quandary Facing John Elway's Denver Broncos

From fans to media, it seems everyone believes there is a rift or tension between Tim Tebow as the Denver Broncos starting quarterback and the front office led by John Elway. Whether that’s a legitimate rift or not, the situation seems clear from the outside looking in and the Peyton Manning flirtation only enhances the tension brewing all season despite the Broncos winning record.

But Elway has not been completely free to build his team the way he would like, since fans have rallied around Tebow and heralded him with signs, merch sales and billboards praising their favorite athlete. The people have spoken.

So the only way that the Broncos are going to worm their way out of having Tim Tebow as their starter next season is to get fans talking about something or someone else — Peyton Manning. In fact, Bill Williamson of ESPN says he’s the only person left who could get the team talking at the fever pitch necessary to move Tebow and not cause the worst PR in a long time for the team.

Williamson writes, “Of the quarterback available this year, I think it is small group. I think there’s Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and that’s it. Luck and Griffin are out of the picture. Yet, the Broncos are trying aggressively to make Manning Tebow’s successor. I think would be accepted, even by Tebow’s most ardent supporters. They would have to understand. Any other of the available quarterbacks would likely invoke some sort of backlash.”

Luck will head to the Indianapolis Colts with the first pick in the draft. Griffin will go second to the Washington Redskins. Matt Flynn is the best remaining free agent quarterback outside of Manning and Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M is the best remaining rookie available to draft after Luck and Griffin. Neither player will generate the positive publicity needed to replace Tebow.

At this point, if Manning chooses to play for the Arizona Cardinals or Kansas City Chiefs or Miami Dolphins, Elway must wait until the season begins. Because the only person besides Manning, at this point, who can replace Tim Tebow is Tim Tebow. Whether they like him or not, the Broncos fans are going to want wins. If Tebow fails to deliver that, then he can be replaced.

Unfortunately, Elway and John Fox are also tied to the team’s on-field performance, which means if they lose, then their jobs are also in the spotlight as well. Tebow will definitely be the first to go of anyone if the Broncos begin to lose in 2012, but the pressure will be strong for Elway and Fox to find a suitable replacement.