The End of an Era

Its quite hard to summarize what Peyton Manning means to sports.  Its probably even harder to sumarize what he has meant to the Colts organization and their fans.  Yet here we stand, one day after the Colts officialy cut ties with Peyton Manning.  Their Quarterback of 14 years.  The end of an era. 

Peyton and the Colts will go their seperate ways, to uncertain futures.  The Colts look poised to draft Andrew Luck, although Robert Griffin the 3rd, is dramatically making his case to be the number one pick overall.  But what either of those players will produce is anyones guess.  Where as Peyton, will simply have to choose which franchise he wants to try and save next.  And regardless of what anyone says.  Where Peyton goes, so will his 10 wins a year.  Theres talk of Miami, Houston, NY, San Francisco.  Peyton will have plenty of options to choose from.  Its a testament to his career.  Its a testament to his value. 

Peyton is arguably the greatest QB of all time.  From a technical standpoint, its hard to argue against that.  Brady has the rings, but he had Belichick.  Peyton ran his own offense, calling plays, essentially taking the reigns of not just a QB, but an offensive coordinator to a degree.  The guy is simply a brilliant football mind.  From a mental standpoint, I argue there is no player more prepared to be a coach following their career, than Peyton Manning.  Hes just that damn smart. 

We can sit here and ask the questions.  How could the Colts cut him?  Simply put, lots of committed money, combined with uncertainty, combined with the reality that this is a business.  And its almost hard to see how the Colts could not cut him.  The Colts would have had to pay Peyton 35 million dollars this year (although only 7 or 8 million under the cap).  Frame the issue in the proper perspective, and you can’t knock the Colts making the smart business decision.  But this is sports.  There are loyalties involved.  This guy was a veritable hero in Indy.  But alas, the outcome could not have been any different.  The two sides needed to go their seperate way. 

In 14 years with the Colts.  Peyton has amassed absolutely absurd statistics. 

 

He threw for over a 90 QB rating in all but three seasons with the Colts, including his rookie year.

He threw for 4000 yards 12 times. 

He completed over 65 % of his passes 10 times. 

He broke the TD record in 04′.  (Since broken by Tom Brady)

He played in 2 Superbowls, 06′ and 09′, winning in 06′ (Also taking the MVP)

He won a league record 4 MVP awards (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009)

Made the Pro Bowl 11 times. 

Was 1st team all pro 5 times. 

 He never got into a contract dispute.  He never bad mouthed his teammates.  He was an all around great guy. 

And like that.  He’s a free agent. 

Its hard to process. 

Now there is a host of teams salivating over the very stats you’ve just seen.  Crunching the numbers.  Who can they drop, who can they trade.  “Can we find the cap space” is probably the most used sentence of the past 24 hours.  And it opens up an absurd amount of possibilities.  Will he play his brother?  Will he play the Colts?  Could he come to the Jets and make NYC the town of two Mannings?  Will he go to Miami and play Tom Brady twice a year?  Is there a chance for an all Manning superbowl? 

The possibilities are endless.  And exciting.

And that’s another testament to just how great this guy is.  Whoever signs him, will be a contender.  I’d say theres a 90% chance any team he’s on, makes the playoffs.  But at the end of the day, what I will cherish most, is the excitement a player of Mannings caliber brings to this league.  How millions of fans across the nations, are saying their prayers tonight, and in them, asking that Peyton Manning come to their city. 

Now I’ve dealt with this feeling before.  As a Jet fan, I was at best, cautiously optomistic about Brett Favre a few years back.  But while I kept my cool publicly, on the inside, I was freaking out.  OH THE POSSIBILITIES.  Of course then Favre snapped some dick pics, threw 20+ int’s, got hurt and refused to come out, and made us miss the playoffs. 

But Peyton Manning is not Brett Favre.  Not by a long shot.  He hasnt burned the bridges in Indy.  If and when Peyton returns to Lucas Oil Stadium, I guarantee it’s to a resounding chorus of applause.  And if he beats them.  I dont expect the applause to stop.  I expect a standing ovation.  Because he is nothing short, of the best player to ever put on a Colts uniform. 

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