Peyton Manning leaving the Colts in 2012 was the shock of the year in the NFL. It worked out beautifully for the Denver Broncos. But what if the quarterback had chosen a different path?
Now Archie Manning says the Tennessee Titans were prepared to extend a "lifetime contract" to the quarterback, per Troy Renck of Denver7. John Elway's presence in Denver played a "big part" in completing the move to Denver instead.
Tennessee would have made a whole lot of sense for Manning in some sense. He played college ball for the Volunteers in Knoxville, so his brand as a member of the Titans would have been monumental.
But Manning going to the Titans ultimately made more sense for the team than the player. He played for the Colts in the AFC South for over a decade. It would have been wild to join a direct rival like that. The fate of Tennessee in the following years doesn't inspire much confidence in management either.
NFL Rumors: Titans tried to sway Peyton Manning with lifetime contract
The Titans were 9-7 in 2011, head coach Mike Munchak's first season. They barely missed the playoffs that year, then went on to miss the postseason every year after until 2017. How much would Manning have changed their fortunes? It's tough to say.
When it comes down to it, they didn't have someone like John Elway doing the recruiting. What good is a lifetime contract if you can't be confident in the people pulling the strings? Manning obviously still had gas in the tank at 36 years old and he didn't want to waste it.
Ultimately, Manning was also proven right in his decision because the Broncos eventually went to two Super Bowls and won one with Manning at the helm.