Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning Not Currently Considering NFL Ownership

When bids were coming in on the Broncos, Peyton Manning‘s name frequently came up. The Hall of Fame quarterback was mentioned by several prospective bidders as someone a buyer would include in the new ownership group, one of them being the winner of the bidding process (Rob Walton).

However, Manning is not currently involved in the team’s operations despite previously mentioning interest in a Broncos ownership role. Walton mentioned both Manning and fellow Broncos Super Bowl winner John Elway as candidates to take on a position of some kind upon the beginning of his tenure as owner. The latter remained with the organization until recently, but the former is not actively seeking out a role.

“I don’t think that’s anywhere on my radar by any means,” Manning said when asked about future ownership or other front office responsibilities (via Parker Gabriel of the Denver Post). “I love being an ambassador for the Broncos and for the Colts, for the University of Tennessee. Obviously, living here I get to go to all the Broncos games. I was out at the facility the other day… I still have my key fob from when I played.

“I still feel an attachment and have really enjoyed getting to know the Walton-Penner family as well. But as far as running a team, I don’t think that’s on my radar.”

Manning’s attention is currently aimed on his post-playing media endeavors, which have proven to be rather fruitful. His Omaha Productions company has a long-term agreement in place with ESPN, and he and brother Eli will again take part in the ManningCast this season. He is thus on track to remain in Denver (where he played four seasons to close out his career) in his current situation for the foreseeable future.

Walton brought on a number of notable names to join his ownership group, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. Manning would of course represent another high-profile addition if he were to come aboard. That should not be expected any time soon, though.

Broncos Name Damani Leech Team President

In addition to the Broncos now officially having new ownership, they will have another new decision-making presence. The team hired Damani Leech as its next president.

Leech, who spent the past three years as COO for NFL International, will join GM George Paton in reporting to Broncos CEO Greg Penner. The latter is the son-in-law of new owner Rob Walton. This will usher considerable change for the Broncos, who had Joe Ellis in place as their top executive for the past several years.

Damani is highly regarded throughout the National Football League for his leadership, strategic vision and collaborative spirit,” the team said in a statement. “As a former college player with executive experience at both the NFL and NCAA levels, Damani understands the value of teamwork and knows what it takes to win—on and off the field.”

In addition to his NFL International role, Leech worked in the league office in different capacities over the past eight years. In the 17 years prior to that, Leech worked at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.

Ellis was part of the three-person Pat Bowlen Trust that was in charge of the franchise, after the Hall of Fame owner stepped away from the team as he battled Alzheimer’s. Pat Bowlen died in 2019. Pat Bowlen’s youngest daughter, Brittany, was the NFL’s preferred candidate to succeed him. Days before Walton officially became the team’s owner, Brittany Bowlen stepped down from her post within the organization.

Penner said ownership will not become too involved in Broncos personnel decisions, via Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter), being set to cede football ops-related responsibilities to Paton and HC Nathaniel Hackett. The new Broncos ownership was mum on Russell Wilson‘s contract situation, and although Penner mentioned (via Renck, on Twitter) Peyton Manning and John Elway as possible options to take on roles with the team, neither is firmly attached to anything. Both Hall of Famers were at the press conference this week introducing Walton and Co., however. All four ownership finalists spoke with Manning about a role with the team; Elway remains a consultant to the front office.

Latest On Broncos Ownership Bid Process

With today’s deadline for second-round bids on the Broncos having come and gone, there are are few interesting developments regarding the ongoing sales process. Given what has already been reported on the subject, neither come as much of a surprise. 

With the four remaining groups having placed their bids this afternoon, the prospective owner seen as the favorite to ultimately take over the team is the same as it has been presumed for some time now. Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that Walmart heir Rob Walton “remains the clear frontrunner” to win the bidding process (video link). He adds that Walton’s bid “could be upwards of $4.5B”. Walton has been seen as the likeliest candidate for months, and that figure would fall in line with the expected value of the team.

Walton – who, Renck also notes would become the NFL’s all-time wealthiest owner should he be successful – is competing against three other bidders. Those groups are led by 76ers and Devils owner Josh Harris, whose party also includes Magic Johnson, the trio of soon-to-be Chelsea owners which would be led by Jose Feliciano, and brothers Mat and Justin Ishbia. Up until this second round of bidding, media mogul Byron Allen was still in the running, but only the four finalists participated today. The process could very well be complete by the end of the month.

Regardless of who becomes the next owner, they could recruit a familiar face as part of the beginning of their tenure overseeing the franchise. Mike Klis of 9News reports that all four of the finalists have spoken to Peyton Manning “to gauge his interest” in becoming a minority owner or advisor to the team. The Hall of Fame QB has previously made it clear doing so is a distinct possibility, though that was before the identities of the prospective buyers were known. Klis adds that there is “no word” on what Manning is currently planning with respect to any potential role in the new ownership group.

With another key checkpoint being reached in the sales process, the exact terms of the pending deal – and the particulars of who will be involved in the new regime – will remain worth watching for in the coming days and weeks.

Magic Johnson Joins Ownership Group Bidding To Buy Broncos

The Broncos have narrowed their prospective owner list to five, according to Mike Klis of 9News, who adds the first of those groups — the one fronted by New Jersey Devils owner and Philadelphia 76ers managing partner Josh Harris — met with Broncos executives and bank and transaction lawyers Thursday.

Harris’ group is believed to now have a big name attached. Magic Johnson has joined the group, according to Sportico (on Twitter). This is interesting considering Johnson partners with another of the Broncos’ ownership candidates — Todd Boehly — in a consortium that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The NBA icon and former Lakers president of basketball operations has a 2.3% stake in the Dodgers, making a $50MM investment. The Broncos are expected to be sold for more than $4.5 billion, which will shatter an American sports record. The NFL has sought minority representation in the next Broncos ownership group, though Harris’ contingent is not believed to be the favorites. Walmart chairman Rob Walton is believed to be the frontrunner, and Ian Rapoport of notes his group and Boehly’s will visit soon (Twitter link). This process remains on track to be resolved before the season, RapSheet adds.

John Elway and Peyton Manning have been mentioned as interested parties, but Klis adds neither are expected to join a group until the bidding is settled. Elway remains interested in an advisory role with the eventual owner. The former Broncos GM currently serves as a consultant to successor George Paton.

A second round of bids has not yet taken place, per Klis. The highest bid must be accepted, with the winner then needing to be approved by three quarters of NFL owners. The last NFL sale ended with David Tepper‘s Panthers acquisition being approved by a 32-0 margin. Harris, 57, is well known in NFL circles, having bought the 5% stake in the Steelers that Tepper sold upon buying the Panthers.

Rob Walton Frontrunner To Buy Broncos

The list of prospective Broncos owners has narrowed to five, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. An NFL-record bid should be expected here, and the winning price is set to smash the previous mark David Tepper set four years ago when he bought the Panthers for $2.275 billion.

Rob Walton is believed to have submitted an opening bid of more than $4 billion, according to Josh Kosman of the New York Post. A Walmart heir worth more than $70 billion, Walton, 77, is the favorite to acquire the AFC West franchise, per Kosman and Renck (Twitter link). The highest bid must be accepted, with the sale then going to a league vote.

The Broncos are only accepting bids north of $4 billion at this point, with Kosman adding the price is expected to be between $4.5-$5 billion. Even a $4 billion price would exceed the cost for any American sports franchise by a wide margin. The Brooklyn Nets were sold for $3.3 billion, representing the current high-water mark. The prospective buyer list has been narrowed to five, Renck adds. New Jersey Devils owner and Philadelphia 76ers managing partner Josh Harris remains in the running, with Lakers and Dodgers investor Todd Boehly heading a third ownership group that remains in contention, according to Sportico.

The Broncos went on the market in February; they are set to begin hosting candidates by early May, Renck adds. Team CEO Joe Ellis has said he wants a new owner in place before the 2022 season starts. Both John Elway and Peyton Manning have been linked to interest in being part of separate ownership groups. The latest reports have not mentioned either Hall of Famer, but Ellis said at the owners meetings the two are not out of the mix altogether.

They’ve inquired is what I would tell you,” Ellis said, via Mike Klis of 9News. “Certainly, I think either one would be well-accepted by a group if a group or a potential owner would want to include them in the group. We’ll see where that shakes out.”

This Date In Transactions History: Peyton Manning Retires From NFL

Prepare to feel old, because it’s been six years since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. In 2016, the quarterback left the game as a two-time Super Bowl champion, the NFL’s all-time leader in total wins, and one of the sport’s greatest quarterbacks of all time. 

Manning spent the first 14 seasons of his remarkable career with the Colts. Then, came his neck surgery in 2011, followed by spinal fusion surgery. He’d miss out on the entire ’11 campaign, snapping his streak of 208 consecutive regular season starts. After months of rehab, Manning said he could barely throw a football ten yards. Many feared that he was finished at this point, but Manning disagreed. Ditto for the Broncos, who were happy to furnish him with a lavish contract in 2012.

The Broncos backstopped Manning by drafting Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft, but it’d be a while before he took the reins. Instead, Manning went on to enjoy a four-year stint in Denver. He completed 66.5% of his passes for 17,112 yards and 140 touchdowns against 53 interceptions. Along the way, he picked up three of Pro Bowl nods, two First-Team All-Pro selections, yet another MVP award, and yet another Super Bowl ring.

When all was said and done, Manning set new watermarks for total wins by a QB (200), passing yards (71,940), and passing touchdowns (539). He also set the record for most single-season TD tosses (55; 2013). All in all, the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft managed 14 Pro Bowl bids, seven First-Team All-Pro selections, and five MVP trophies. Needless to say, he could have called it quits in 2011 and still walked away as one of the NFL’s GOATs. That’s doubly true when considering his lifetime earnings of $250MM+ — not counting his piles of endorsement checks. Still, Manning wanted to go out on his terms, and he did just that.

Manning wasn’t at his personal best in his final season, but he was good enough while teamed with the league’s most feared defense. A few weeks after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Manning closed the book on his Hall of Fame career.

Byron Allen, Alec Gores Named As Candidates For Broncos’ Ownership

Not long after the Broncos were officially put up for sale, the first two candidates to purchase the team have been named. According to multiple reports, media mogul Byron Allen and billionaire Alec Gores have plans to place a bid on the franchise.

[Related: Broncos Officially Up For Sale]

Allen, whose bidding intention was first reported by Bloomberg, has been in the national spotlight dating back to his time on The Tonight Show. He has since acquired dozens of national and regional media outlets, raising the profile of the Allen Media Group, which he fully owns. The 60-year-old’s net worth is estimated to be $450MM, but he is said to be assembling a “who’s who” of fellow investors from across the business, sports and entertainment industries, though none of them have been identified as of now.

Allen’s name being linked to the Broncos is nothing new. As Troy Renck of Denver7 writes, he said, “[NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell and [Patriots owner] Robert Kraft came to me in November 2019 and asked me to take a good look at buying an NFL team. After serious consideration, I strongly believe I can effectuate positive changes”. Those “changes” are a reference to the fact that Allen, if successful, would become the NFL’s first Black owner.

The desire for added diversity in NFL ownership is a stated goal of Gooddell’s in this bidding process. “We would love to see a diverse owner of the team, whether that’s a person of color, or a female, or a Black man, we think that would be a really positive step for us. And something we’ve encouraged”, he said.

Allen’s interest in the Broncos isn’t simply because they are the only team up for sale, according to Mike Klis of 9News. “Oh my gosh. I love the Broncos“, he said in an interview. “And I have a great deal of respect for Pat Bowlen… I have an enormous respect for him and his family and what they’ve done… I wouldn’t get involved unless I believed I could grow on what they’ve built”. 

Gores, meanwhile, is at the head of a triumvirate of investors – the other two being Dean Metropoulos and Mat Ishbia – involved in the competing bid. The 69-year-old owns the Gores Group, which is based in Beverley Hills and “purchases and sells companies”, according to the original report of his interest in the L.A. Times. The three men are reportedly valued at $10B. Gores’ brother Tom currently owns the Detroit Pistons.

Former Broncos quarterbacks John Elway and Peyton Manning are still believed to be involved in a bid, but not for a controlling share. Renck adds that “there is expected to be an additional minority-led group bidding as well”.

Any successful bid would require the majority owner to hold at least a 30% stake in the team, which would equate to a cost of $1.2B if the total sale price ends up at the estimated $4B mark.

Broncos To Be Sold

In July, when the lawsuit filed by two of Pat Bowlen‘s daughters challenging the validity of the Pat Bowlen Trust was dismissed, the sale of the Broncos became a real possibility. Since then, most of the reporting on the matter has indicated that the club would indeed be sold out of the Bowlen family, and we recently heard that the transaction could be completed by this spring.

So when team attorney Dan Reilly recently said that the trustees of the Pat Bowlen Trust would be moving forward with the “ownership transition process” (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk), it was simply a confirmation of the prevailing belief that the Broncos would soon be sold. Team president Joe Ellis also said that he would soon turn his attention to “transitioning ownership.”

Those comments were made in the wake of a court order regarding the right of first refusal agreement that Bowlen had entered into with Edgar Kaiser when the former purchased the team from the latter in 1984. As Mike Klis of tweets, a Denver court has determined that the agreement is no longer valid or enforceable in any respect, and that it has terminated in its entirety. As such, the last real obstacle to a sale has been removed.

As expected, franchise icons Peyton Manning and John Elway will be involved in the process, as part of separate bidding groups (Twitter link via Troy Renck of Denver 7). Manning is said to be eyeing both a minority ownership stake as well as a role in the management of the team, and Elway — who served as the club’s GM from 2011-20 before being transitioned to a different role upon the hiring of George Paton last year — is reportedly interested in staying with the franchise in some capacity, whether as a part owner or something else.

However, Renck is clear that this will not be a popularity contest. The top bid must be accepted regardless of who makes it, and it has been reported that the sale will net around $4B or so. Per Ellis, the formal announcement regarding ownership will come shortly after the team announces its next head coach. The impending sale is not expected to be a deterrent for any HC candidate.

Latest On Broncos Ownership, Peyton Manning’s Involvement

The Broncos may or may not be up for sale in the near future. The lawsuit filed by two of deceased owner Pat Bowlen‘s daughters was dismissed by a joint motion over the summer, which seemed indicate that a resolution as to the future of the team had been agreed upon. However, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis has not yet indicated whether one of Bowlen’s seven children (most likely youngest daughter Brittany Bowlen) will become the franchise’s next controlling owner, or if the club will be sold.

“Regarding the future of the Denver Broncos’ organization, our No. 1 priority remains a timely, responsible and orderly determination of ownership,” Ellis said recently. “There are no changes with the operation of the team, which is completely focused on a successful 2021 season.”

As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, many club owners and other sources in the league believe the Broncos will be sold within the next year. The team is expected to net a cool $4B or so, which would be split among Bowlen’s children, and given the very public battle over controlling ownership, investors have been gearing up for a potential sale for some time.

Former Denver QB Peyton Manning, who was already said to be eyeing a role within the organization, has been in touch with several ownership groups, according to La Canfora. The NFL icon is reportedly interested in both a minority ownership stake as well as a role in the management of the team. Broncos exec John Elway would also like to stay with the franchise even if it’s sold.

Of course, Manning will have no shortage of opportunities to get back into the league, so it remains to be seen if a share of the Broncos and a voice in the club’s operations will be the route he chooses. Plus, the estate of previous owner Edgar Kaiser claims Bowlen gave Kaiser the right of first refusal if the team went up for sale again, which could obviously complicate matters.

One way or another, it does not sound as if high-profile, non-football candidates like Jay-Z and Jeff Bezos will be involved in this particular transaction.

Peyton Manning Discusses Potential Future Role With Broncos

Despite spending only four seasons in Denver, Peyton Manning established himself as a Broncos legend, with the QB guiding the organization to four division titles, two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl championship.

Since Manning decided to retire following the 2015 campaign, the Hall of Famer has still maintained a consistent presence within the organization, leading some to wonder if he’d ultimately take a role in the Broncos’ front office. While Manning has yet to officially rejoin the organization, he told Mike Klis of 9News in Denver that he’d certainly be interested in an official reunion.

“I am as interested in what’s going to happen as anybody because I care about it,” Manning said.“…I’ve gone on a year-to-year basis in this 2nd chapter. I’m going to try to do this, this year. I don’t go past that because you try different things and maybe you like it, maybe you don’t. I will always be a part of the Broncos and Colts organizations in some way. But I’m interested in what’s going to happen. I haven’t said no to anything officially forever. I’ve just said no to some things each year. The next year, maybe things change. So, who knows what will happen in that.”

Specifically, Manning was referring to the current squabble in Denver regarding ownership. We heard recently that the trial between several of the children of late Broncos owner Pat Bowlen‘s is off, and it could ultimately result in a sale of the organization. Manning would presumably prefer to see how that ordeal is resolved before he commits to an official role, but it certainly sounds like he’s receptive to some kind of gig down the road.