In February 2012, the notion of Peyton Manning in orange and blue seemed unfathomable. The Colts seemed likely to cut him to make way for Andrew Luck, and they did. But the Broncos kept their interest down. They were looking at quarterbacks to supplement or supplant Tim Tebow — but most of those were potential rookies.
In early March, Broncos brass hopped on a private plane to fly to Stillwater, Okla., to watch Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden work out. But after the plane dropped off the Denver contingent, it flew to Miami to pick up Manning. On its return to Denver, it stopped for John Elway, John Fox, and their associates.
Thus began the pursuit of Manning. What happened next changed Broncos history.