Bloomberg News

Manning Selects Broncos, ESPN Says; Denver’s Title Odds 10-1

March 19, 2012

Peyton Manning at Lucas Oil Stadium. Photographer: Andrew Hancock/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Peyton Manning at Lucas Oil Stadium. Photographer: Andrew Hancock/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Peyton Manning’s agent will begin contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos after the four- time National Football League Most Valuable Player chose the team over the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers, according to ESPN.

The Broncos will try to trade quarterback Tim Tebow after Manning is signed, ESPN said on its website, citing unidentified people.

Tom Condon, Manning’s agent, didn’t immediately return a telephone message at his office seeking comment. Patrick Smyth, a spokesman for the Broncos, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Broncos’ odds to win the 2013 Super Bowl moved to 10-1 from 50-1 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino’s sports book with the news of the contract talks, Jeff Sherman, the book’s assistant manager, said in an e-mail. Denver also has 5-1 odds to win the American Football Conference Championship after opening at 25-1 following last season, meaning a successful $100 bet on the Broncos would net $500.

Green Bay, New England San Francisco and New Orleans have better odds to win the title, according to Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com.

Ticket Market

Broncos’ season tickets at online ticket reseller StubHub.com rose by about 25 percent today, according to Joellen Ferrer, a spokeswoman for the company.

About 15 minutes after news of the negotiations broke, a person from Pennsylvania bought four seats for $750 apiece, Ferrer said in an e-mail. An hour later, the cheapest on the site were going for more than $1,000 and at least 50 had been purchased, she said.

Titans owner Bud Adams said in a statement he was “disappointed” when Manning called with his decision. While Adams didn’t say in the statement that Manning specifically mentioned the Broncos, the owner told the Tennessean newspaper that “he called me himself and told me he wasn’t coming, and he made up his mind to go to Denver.”

Manning, who missed all of last season after neck-fusion surgery, was cut by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, a day before the team had to commit to pay him a $28 million bonus and a $7.4 million salary in 2012. Manning has discussed a five- year, $95 million deal with the Broncos, ESPN said.

First Pick

Indianapolis, which went 2-14 last season, holds the first selection in April’s draft, allowing the team to rebuild around highly touted Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck, the probable pick. The Colts drafted Manning with the No. 1 pick in 1998.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said the team was entering a rebuilding phase and it was better for Manning to go to a franchise with a shot at quickly winning his second Super Bowl ring.

Tebow, who is under contract with Denver through 2014, led the Broncos last season to an 8-8 record and their first playoff win since the 2005 campaign.

John Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Broncos who is now the team’s vice president of football operations, recruited Manning just weeks after saying Tebow would probably be Denver’s quarterback for seasons to come.

“He added a great spark for us, and we really had some good things happen to us,” Elway said of Tebow at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 24, according to the Associated Press. “We’re hoping that he’s going to be the guy for a long, long time.”

Widespread Interest

Twelve of the NFL’s 32 franchises contacted Manning’s representatives shortly after his release, ESPN.com reported, citing unidentified people. He visited with the Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, 49ers and Titans, narrowing his search to Denver, San Francisco and Tennessee.

Alex Smith, who led the 49ers to the National Football Conference championship game in January, is also a free agent and has been in talks with the Dolphins, ESPN reported. Condon represents both Manning and Smith.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.


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