The Denver Broncos pulled off one of the biggest quarterback acquisitions in NFL history by trading for Russell Wilson, following a tradition that dates back to Peyton Manning and John Elway.
Elway and Manning both chose the Broncos over other franchises, much like Wilson did, to ensure he landed in Denver, instead of heading to Washington or Philadelphia.
It appears like that past tradition, had an impact on Wilson’s decision, as he reached out to Manning when deciding on a destination, in order to help him feel comfortable with the move.
“I’ve known Peyton over the years,” Wilson said during his introductory press conference. “Once this thing was kind of very real, I called him just to kind of figure out what he thought about the city. ‘Hey, what do you think about the schools?’ Because I’m moving with my family, and my family’s everything to me, Future, Sienna and Win, and obviously Ciara.”
Of course, with both Manning and Wilson being so football-centric, the conversation focused on more than just what the move to Denver would mean for Wilson’s family.
“Then [I wanted to ask] about just the organization, about his experience,” Wilson said. “If this does happen for me, and it did really quickly, I wanted to make sure that, ‘Hey, what went well? What didn’t go so well? What did you learn? What did you learn about yourself as a player?’ I think Peyton is one of the best minds in the game and one of the best throwers in the game.”
Another parallel between himself and Manning that Wilson brought up, was how they both had to leave fanbases and cities which they had become deeply attached to.
“From going through that experience of being in Indy [Indianapolis] a place that he was at for almost 16-plus years, or whatever it was, to come here, it’s a big decision,” Wilson told the media and Broncos Country. “For me, the amount of time, investment and love that I’ve had for Seattle. I will always have for Seattle. OK, there’s going to be a change here. So along the way for me, I’ve always known that what I believe about great players, the best in the world and everything else, is that you’ve got to be really, really great at being consistent. But also, you’ve got to be really, really great at adjusting. This is a time to adjust. That’s what my mindset was.”
Wilson has already followed in the footsteps of Elway and Manning in terms of his memorable arrival to the Mile High City, but now, he faces a much more demanding challenge — following in the footsteps of Elway and Manning, on the field.