Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are not only two of the best quarterbacks playing today; they will go down as two of the greatest ever, and this is in part due to their longevity. Both have played at a consistently high level since the start of their careers, but good things don’t last forever. Manning and Brady will enter the season at 37 and 36-years-old respectively, signaling the inevitable end of an era in the near future.
While it’s hard to fathom that both legendary signal callers have a limited window to win another Super Bowl, this fact has certainly not been lost on their respective clubs. The resurgent Broncos and ever-consistent Pats have made considerable efforts to improve their rosters, and not just for the sake of yearly upkeep.
The Denver Broncos sported an AFC-best 13-3 record in 2012, and if not for the single-greatest defensive meltdown in NFL history, we could be having an entirely different conversation. The Broncos have the tools to win a Super Bowl, but with an aging franchise quarterback they are wisely deviating from a conservative approach. Rather than roll the dice with their already talented roster, Denver added receiver Wes Welker, formerly of the Patriots. Manning’s push to get Welker wasn’t just about seeing an opportunity to improve the team; he knows the clock is ticking on his quest to double-up on his championship total.
In response to the loss of Welker, New England swiftly signed slot-man Danny Amendola. Again, this is more than a case of looking to fill a void. The Patriots have become more aggressive in recent seasons as they attempt to take advantage of their Canton-bound quarterback’s prime years, and this is evidenced by their recent pursuit of restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders of the Steelers. Pittsburgh eventually retained their best remaining pass-catcher, and the New England is rumored to be seeking a receiver in the upcoming draft.
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If Brady and Manning both hung up their cleats today, both would be sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famers. But then again, that’s what makes them Brady and Manning; neither wants to relinquish their few remaining seasons of productivity, and their teams are responding by making every possible move to get the best out of their veteran quarterbacks.
With the assembly of football juggernauts in San Francisco and Seattle, every other squad has a growing sense of urgency to put together the best possible roster. For New England and Denver, that is just another reason to pull out all the stops in the quest for a Super Bowl ring.