Note: While in the process of writing this I saw that local firebrand, DMac (@dmac1043), had mentioned something similar on this topic. I'm not sure how far he expanded on it other than to say it was a question for after the season. But for us fans, this is a question for right now. So without further ado:
We've all talked ourselves back into Peyton Manning. What started as such a beautiful relationship got muddled on the way to a 2-3 record as Manning's arm strength and general health were put in question as he struggled to regain his former all-pro form. But even after a fairly predictable loss at the hands of the New England Patriots, fans pretty much agreed: Manning is not the problem. He looks fine. It's the defense and the spotty play from the offensive side of the ball that should have everyone worried.
Manning will just get better as the season goes along and he probably knew going into this year he'll need some time to get re-acclimated. I've always contended that this season was never going to be the Broncos year: the next season is where we'll see the offense fully get on the same page, while the defense gets in sync by getting some linebackers that can actually back the line.
So knowing all that, is Manning remorseful that he picked the Broncos in the first place? He'd never admit it, but if he bothered to take a look around the NFL, he may have some regret regarding his decision. If you look at what the 49ers are doing, you can't help but wonder how much more of a juggernaut they would be if Manning was their QB. Alex Smith has done a fine job surprisingly enough, but with Manning – even with his supposed diminished arm strength – San Francisco would be rolling teams like a drunken girls field hockey team playing CU. The Broncos have better receivers than the 49ers, but Manning would do about as well with them as he is with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. But the San Francisco also has Frank Gore and Vernon Davis who anyone thinking clearly would choose over Willis McGahee and whoever plays tight end for the Broncos.
The 49ers are already a favorite for a Super Bowl appearance, but combine Manning and those offensive pieces with the crushing defense they've put forth and you can't argue that the team would be a near lock to WIN the Super Bowl. Manning sees this. And it makes us wonder as the Broncos stumble to a 2-3 record if he wishes he was a part of it. Or a part of any team other than the (so far) slightly disappointing Broncos. Even though Denver is still a good fit for Manning, the team will have to put something together soon for him, and the fans, to feel better about the future. It's quite possible he just didn't want to play in San Francisco and/or with Jim Harbaugh. But he can’t deny his window to get back on top is closing fast, and it may be closing faster as he spins his wheels in Denver.