BRONCOS

Does one Broncos head coach candidate have the Manning seal of approval?

Jan 13, 2022, 3:44 PM | Updated: 3:46 pm
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 07: Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee Peyton Manning waves during Super ...
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The list of candidates to replace Vic Fangio is an extensive one. George Paton has put together a group of 10 potential head coaches, all of whom the Broncos are set to interview for their vacancy.

Given the volume of people on the ballot, someone is going to have to do something to stand out. And if it’s a close race, someone is going to have to have something in their corner that helps put them over the top.

That could be previous experience, which would move Dan Quinn to the top of the list. It could be a connection with Aaron Rodgers, which makes Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy attractive. Or it could be an inside look at the team the Broncos are chasing in their division, which helps Eric Bieniemy’s cause.

But one name on the list could have the ultimate ace in the hole. While he’s a dark horse candidate at the moment, one candidate has something that the others might not.

“I know that Peyton (Manning) likes Brian Callahan,” Brandon Stokley said on Thursday morning during the “Schlereth and Evans” show on 104.3 The Fan. “(Peyton) respects him and his football mind. They worked closely together.”

That’s a valuable endorsement for two reasons.

One, having perhaps the smartest quarterback to ever play the position sing the praises of one of his former coaches means something. Callahan and Manning worked together from 2012-15, a stretch where the quarterback set all kind of single-season records, the team reached two Super Bowl and No. 18 walked off into the sunset with a Lombardi Trophy in hand.

Two, Manning is rumored to be a part of a group that is interested in buying the Broncos. The new owner being on board with the head coach they inherited will certainly make for a smoother transition. It’ll also help avoid a knee-jerk reaction if things hit a rough patch early in the relationship.

That said, Callahan is a very qualified candidate. Yes, he’s just 37 years old, but the Bengals offensive coordinator has worked with some of the biggest names in the business.

“This guy grinded his way up the ranks,” Stokley added. “He’s been around some good offensive minds. Josh McDaniels is a good offensive mind. That guy knows how to diagram things up and call offenses. He was around Adam Gase and Mike McCoy. He was around Peyton Manning. Now, he’s around Zac Taylor.”

It’s an impressive list, one that also includes a season with Jon Gruden and the Raiders. In terms of soaking up knowledge, Callahan couldn’t have asked for better tutors.

If the Broncos are looking to jumpstart their offense, if they’re hoping to develop a young quarterback, if they’re wanting to make things easier with a new owner coming on board, one candidate may have an inside track. Brian Callahan checks some boxes that the other nine options simply can’t.

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Does one Broncos head coach candidate have the Manning seal of approval?