If Bob Allen's third-hand account is to be believed, Peyton had the Texans as his first choice when he became available as a free agent early in 2012. According to Manning himself, the Texans never contacted him. Hnngh!
Bob McNair's words confirm this:
"We’ve got a quarterback (Matt Schaub) that we think is sound. We think his foot is going to be fine. He’s got a great arm and he can take us to a championship."
And Durga help me, I agreed with him at the time. To me, it would have felt "dirty" for the team to sign a player who had tormented us for more than a decade. I wanted the team to win on its own, not because of a mercenary signing to put us over the top. I feel foolish thinking that now and jealously wonder how Broncos fans feel about having Manning on their team.
Then, later that same year, the Houston Texans selected Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey with the 68th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Seven picks later-- and one pick before the Texans' other 3rd rounder-- the Seattle Seahawks took Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.
And now, the teams led by both of those quarterbacks are squaring off in Super Bowl 48.
Manning would have instantly elevated every single player on the roster. Even Derek Newton would be serviceable blocking for a quarterback that has a lightning quick release and almost perfectly diagnoses defenses.
Wilson would have fit Kubiak's offense to a T and would have added a level of athleticism that Matt Schaub couldn't even possess playing Madden.
Pass the bleach, and pray that Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith get it right with that #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Knowing what could have been, we deserve it.