Last summer's frantic concerns about Peyton Manning's future seem silly here in December.
Worries over his arm strength. Concerns about his durability. Whispers he'd never be the same guy again.
Peyton ManningTake a look at the career of Peyton Manning.
We asked plenty of those questions ourselves, but the Denver Broncos, to their credit, never seemed to doubt Manning's future. Coach John Fox and head executive John Elway hotly pursued the signal-caller with the idea that he'd deliver as expected.
"It was an unusual process, to say the least," Fox told "NFL AM" on Wednesday. "It was like recruiting all over again in major college football. To get a guy like Peyton, his caliber -- even though there was a little bit of risk -- with his work ethic, we knew he would work his way back to being the old Peyton, and he has."
The Broncos are 9-3 and surging down the stretch. They've wrapped up the AFC West and loom as a team without an overt weakness.
All the talk in Denver has been about Manning -- fair enough -- but none of this would have happened without Elway. The former Broncos legend never was bogged down by the questions plaguing others over Manning's return -- and the Broncos are transformed because of that.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.