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Mile High Morning: A look back at how Peyton Manning chose Denver as a free agent 

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The Lead

As part of a new podcast series called "The Record," Sports Illustrated has been taking a closer look at several of its biggest stories from the magazine's history — and the previous week's episode was centered around Peyton Manning's decision to join the Broncos.

In his conversation with Jessica Smetana, former SI writer Peter King revisited his reporting from that story, which culminated in an article that ran in the April 2, 2012 issue.

Now just a bit over eight years since that story, King recalled that one of the biggest factors in Manning's decision was Pat Bowlen's track record.

"[H]e wanted to go to a place where football mattered and where they were gonna take it really seriously and they were gonna do everything possible to win a Super Bowl while he was there," King said. "And at the time, this is really because Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Broncos, was basically in the early stages of being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. But he was there at the press conference announcing Manning, and Bowlen was a big reason why Manning wanted to go because Manning knew he just looked at Denver's history and they were never bad. They were they were always a contending team. And I think that was really important to him, that they would spend the money and do what they had to do to try to be a contender."

SI senior reporter Albert Breer, who covered Manning's decision for NFL Network at the time, led off his mailbag with his recollection of it and why it wasn't as clear-cut a decision as people may think.

"Everyone knows the result now—but there was no straight line from Point A to Point B on this one, even if Denver was seen very much as a favorite when the Colts cut him," Breer wrote.

Below the Fold

The MMQB staff also put together a list of the most memorable Peyton Manning games. Of the five selections, only one writer selected a game from Manning's Broncos tenure: his seven-touchdown game vs. the Ravens to kick off the 2013 season.

Several ESPN analysts have taken an early crack at predicting the 2020 season's MVP candidates, and Mike Clay wrote that Drew Lock is his dark-horse pick for the award. "Offensively, the line is solid and the weapons, while young, are impressive. That leaves 2019 second-round pick Lock as the wild card. If he proves to be legit, the Broncos are going to surprise in a big way."

Have you heard about the rules proposal that would allow teams to try to convert a fourth-and-15 play instead of an onside kick? NFL.com's Grant Gordon took a closer look at what kind of success rate that might have compared to onside kicks. "Starting in 2018, the kicking team was no longer able to get a running start and in the two years since, only a dozen attempts have been recovered in 115 tries – just 10.4 percent. In that same time span, five of 14 (36 percent) fourth-and-15 attempts were converted."

The Unclassifieds

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