Broncos owner Pat Bowlen gets his man

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
12:23
PM ET
Pat Bowlen just spent $96 million dollars.

He would have written that check years ago.

I’ll never forget the stunned, beaten look on Bowlen’s face in the visitor’s locker room at the old RCA Dome in Indianapolis in January, 2005 after Bowlen’s Broncos were sliced apart by Peyton Manning in an AFC playoff game.

Bowlen, Denver's owner, muttered something about what should he have expected. It was Manning. Bowlen said he had no chance.

He does now. Manning and Bowlen are on same the team.

Making the inevitable finally believable, Manning is about to officially become a Bronco and officially change the landscape of the AFC West. The team and Manning agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal, making him the highest paid player in the NFL.

The Broncos will introduce Manning at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. It’s the biggest news in Denver since 1983 when Denver announced its trade with the Baltimore Colts to bring in John Elway. Fittingly, it's Elway who is the man bringing Manning to town.

Barring a setback from the neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season, I expect Manning will give Denver, at least, three good seasons.

And Bowlen will take anything he can get from his former nemesis.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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