So last Tuesday night, Chris Mortensen – award winning journalist with ESPN was the first to break the news that Peyton Manning had been cut by the Indianapolis Colts. Many Colt fans were understandably disturbed with the news – it’s one of those “you know it’s bound to happen and it’s gonna hurt, but just don’t know when” that was last Tuesday for them. But let me throw this at you – be it Colt fan or the Peyton Manning homer, I contend that it was not a day of sadness but rather that it was a day for everybody to be grateful, that it was even a day for Peyton Manning to be grateful. Listen, he was born with a dad named Archie Manning – a wonderful set of parents I’m sure, a great brother, not into poverty, not with disabilities, not born into dysfunctions. Day 1 – well, maybe not Day 1, but very early on, there was dad leading the path to a pro-football quarterback career. There are a lot of worse families to be born into than the Manning family.
Peyton should also be thoughtful and thankful that he had an owner who didn’t put him on the IR – kept him on the roster last year, giving him $25 million for not playing. You think the late Al Davis, God rest his soul, would’ve done that? Or Mike Brown of the Bengals? Colt fans…you should be grateful for 14 years of unrivaled excellence because you generally don’t get one quarterback for that long. In fact, from 98’ to 10’, when Manning was the Colts’ quarterback, the Bengals started 17 quarterbacks and every team other than the Colts had at least 3 starting quarterbacks during that time span. The Browns had 16, the Dolphins had 16, the Cowboys/Ravens/Lions and Raiders had 15, Colt fans…you had one and he was a great guy. The NFL should also be thankful because Peyton Manning gave you 14 years of television excellence – no controversies ,he was even funny when he went on Saturday Night Live. Now, he’ll make 2 teams really interesting – the one he goes to and the Colts because Andrew Luck is coming aboard. Andrew Luck should be thankful because Indy is now his job and only his job and he won’t have to go through what Aaron Rodgers of the Packers had to go through – a 3 year apprenticeship with Brett Favre.
Jim Irsay should also be thankful because he saved $28 million bucks last Wednesday and gets the cushiest landing in the history of pro sports. He’s landing at the marshmallow airport – he virtually goes from Lebron to Kobe with Manning to Luck. Gregg Williams and the Saints should be thankful; no bounty talk at least until Manning decides where to take his talents. Speaking of Lebron, he should be thankful as well! He’s no longer the last icon to leave a city nor is Albert Pujols. Nike should be thankful because they have a new marketing deal with the NFL – Peyton as a Dolphin, a Bronco, a Jet, a Redskin or a Cardinal is $100-200 million in the bank! Peyton Manning started every meaningful game for 13 years. He broke the league record for most regular season wins in a decade. You’re looking for sympathy Colt fan??? It’s been an amazing ride! Andrew Luck is not going to be as good as Peyton Manning…who in the world is?? If he can make the pro bowl 2 out of 3 years and just get to a Superbowl, every GM in this league would sign up for it. You just didn’t get Peyton Manning; you got Peyton Manning commercial icon, funny guy, loyal guy, change the city guy. Tony Dungy was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio Wednesday morning and he talked about how when Peyton arrived in sleepy old Indianapolis – don’t forget, Indy use to be called “nap town” – I’m not making this up! NFL scouts called it for years “india-no-place”.
When Peyton went to the city of Indianapolis, they didn’t even care about football. Anyways, so Dungy said “when I got there in 2002, it was definitely a town that was all about Indiana basketball, it was Pacers basketball and the Colts were in third place. Peyton Manning did so much to change that – and now I was back there for the Superbowl and I would see people walking around in blue and white Colts jerseys. It is a completely different landscape and that is really a credit to Peyton and Jim Irsay and this has been a tough one. I’ve talked to both of those guys at length in the past couple of weeks – nobody wanted it to go this way, but in the final analysis this is the best thing for both parties, I believe.” There is no sadness!! Peyton is not 80 and needs gallbladder surgery – okay, he had more neck surgeries than Frankenstein had in the last 2 months, be that as it may. In the end, Indianapolis, from one legend to another, in the NFL, one boring team will get interesting and Peyton Manning…it happens to all of us! The great thing about the U.S. and Canada – for the first time since our university days, now YOU get to choose where you go! That is absolutely incredible!!
Bill Polian use to be the go-to person between Irsay and Manning and I think he sums it up well – the nation, the league, the Colt fans…they got a gift in this guy! “Well not surprising, I think most people believed that it would happen this way. This marks a new chapter in Peyton’s life and certainly a new chapter in the Colts’ history and we’ll go on from here, but what Peyton’s done in Indianapolis will probably never be eclipsed.” It absolutely won’t be!! But if you could guarantee a GM 80% of it, they’d take it tomorrow! This is the equivalent of having Lebron and he leaves and Kobe’s ready to get drafted! I mean, I would even argue…heck, you didn’t even earn it! Your incompetence is going to get you both quarterbacks! Don’t be sad, take a deep breath, be bummed for an hour, the future is incredibly bright – for not only the Colts but Peyton Manning.
Now, I may be reaching here – but did you see Peyton Manning in the range rover last Tuesday night? They flew in on a private jet; ESPN’s local affiliate in Indianapolis rushed up to him in their range rover and put a camera in front of him, here a clip of it (right click the link to open in a different tab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APyEqOIxLQE ) Now, I may be reaching here, but something was playing on the radio, re-watch the video again, now listen to the radio, there was something on, I think it sounded something like this (right click the link to open in a different tab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nBbGtccrAY ) Now to me, that is symbolic because my gut feeling is that Peyton was sending us a message in that range rover with Irsay last Tuesday, but again maybe I’m reaching.