But the payoff was worth the chance as Manning can now draw devotees from three markets: Knoxville, were he played at the University of Tennessee, Indianapolis where he spent 14 seasons and won a Super Bowl and now Denver.
Manning's first game as a Denver Bronco drew an 18.0 overnight rating. The rating is the highest rating for a prime time NFL game on NBC.
The previous highest-rated game was New Orleans Saints-Minnesota Vikings season opener in 2010, which drew a 17.7 rating.
The 18.0 rating on Sunday night is an increase from 2011 by 7-percent when the Cowboys and Jets earned a 16.9/27.
More people watched Sunday's game than any other NFL prime time game in the last 15 years. The previous high was a Broncos-49ers game on Dec. 15th 1997 which drew a 19.3 rating.
As expected, Broncos fans watched in force. The Denver TV market drew a 44.2/67 share, the highest rating for an NFL game in the Denver since 2003.