While there's little room to debate that this was a quite the coup by the Johns, Elway and Fox now must focus their concerns on developing the best team they can around their centerpiece. When Elway was around Manning's age, he was doing helicopters in the Super Bowl. But there would be no mid-air somersaults in Super Bowl XXXII without Rod Smith, Terrell Davis and Ed McCaffrey.
Those guys aren't walking through the door in Denver. So what to make of the cast of characters playing alongside Manning in Colorado this fall?
Demaryius Thomas is a good place to start. The third-year receiver emanated a bright future with his play from midseason on. Everyone by now has seen the game-winning catch-and-run against Pittsburgh. There should be many more of those for the 24-year-old Thomas, who averaged 17.2 yards per catch last season, particularly with a talent like Manning throwing him the ball.
Wideout Eric Decker, who also is 24, should benefit from Manning's presence just like Thomas. But how well these guys grasp a new offense is the question. With Decker, that shouldn't be a problem, considering he reportedly posted the highest score on the Wonderlic test at the 2010 combine. Bear in mind, that all of Denver's skill players had to adjust to a radically different offense on the fly last season. For the most part, they passed that test. Why wouldn't guys like Thomas and Decker be able to respond with a pro's pro like Manning pulling the strings? Not to mention, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is no slouch.
McCoy deserves a lot of credit for getting the production out of running back Willis McGahee last season (1,199 yards). Manning will need the help from a solid ground attack, as his body might not be able to withstand a 16-game schedule in which he's throwing 45 times a game. A solid running game is a veteran quarterback's friend -- just ask Elway -- and Denver had that in spades last season. Even Tebow (if he's not dealt) could be used to spell Manning in certain packages that call for mobility.
The offensive line might not be gangbusters, but it certainly wasn't the problem for the 8-8 Broncos. Manning's decision-making and quick release will make a decent group look a whole lot prettier in orange and navy.