(NOTE: This story was written long before the news of Peyton Manning announcing he would be signing with the Denver Broncos)
The San Francisco 49ers were not originally part of the question of where would Peyton Manning be playing football in 2012. However, they waited for the pretenders to be separated from the contenders and then jumped in with both feet. If Manning is looking to win now and have a chance at another Super Bowl ring, the 49ers present his best option.
Losing the NFL Championship Game in the same disappointing fashion as the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco is poised for another run at the title. A change of QB from the surprisingly solid season of QB Alex Smith to one of the best QB's of this generation, could be the difference that gets them there.
The 49ers seem to be making the right moves and if Peyton signs with them, they will have made the coup of the season, if not of the past decade in free agency. While the Miami Dolphins may not have had a chance to sign Manning form the get-go, the trade of their best wide receiver certainly didn't help their chances.
On the other hand, San Francisco has done the opposite of Miami, bringing in veteran Randy Moss and signing free agent WR Mario Manningham to go with WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis. The 49ers also have a great running game which sets things up nicely for the arrival of Manning.
Although the Tennessee Titans also have that great running back to complement Manning's skill asa passer, they also have the angle of him returning to the area of his college days and close to home. It also keeps him in the AFC, which he has said he prefers, and in the AFC South as well. This could allow him to haunt the Indianapolis Colts twice per year and keep the Houston Texans from owning that division as they might if Peyton heads elsewhere.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh personally threw next to Manning in his workout, adding what could be a nice tandem of the guy who preceded Manning at Indy as well as a fellow QB that would probably be more than willing to allow Peyton as much control as he would want over the offense. Adding the Manning family to the Harbaugh family seems like a natural combination and almost unfair to the rest of the league.
Peyton Manning might still sign in either Denver or Tennessee, but his best option for a shot at another ring rest firmly with San Francisco. We will find out shortly, but anytime one of the best quarterbacks in the league move into the other conference from the Baltimore Ravens, fans here should be thrilled and if he goes to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's brother's team, then perhaps we will have another reason to root for SF to hopefully set up another meeting of the brothers in Super Bowl 47.