The time has come. The inexplicable has happened. Peyton Manning has been released.
On Wednesday, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, ended the Manning debate by officially cutting loose the 4-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, “The Field General”, “The Greatest QB of the 21st Century”, and one of the most distinguished class acts of the National Football League. And now the lingering idea of a new jersey, a new helmet, a new coach, and a new Peyton will cross the minds of football fans and elope us into a free agent frenzy that no one could ever be prepared for.
Peyton Manning is not only a football player, he’s an icon, he’s the definition of Indianapolis, and he’s a man with something to prove. Before the 1998 draft, Indianapolis was known for 1 thing: Reggie Miller and the Pacers. Soon a love affair was born between the city and kid named Manning; he brought recognition to Irsay, he single-handedly built Lucas Oil, and he will leave with an everlasting legacy. Peyton reinvented the sport of football for Indiana, and brought memories and numerous victories for 14 seasons, Ryan Leaf who?
Andrew Luck could win 87 Super Bowls, but he will never replace the Tennessee gunslinger. We all know football is a business, and for some of us a way of life. However, no one can explain the Mannings. Whether it’s Archie, Peyton, Eli, and even Cooper, football is them and they are football. The NFL without Peyton is like TBS without Seinfeld reruns, you can’t have one without the other.
Times have changed, whether they’re for better or worse, or whether they were for the witty TV ads. I thank Peyton Manning for all that he did for one city, one team, one nation, and for all of us- ourselves. The only unfortunate cirumstance arose and now it is here- for Peyton Manning to leave the horseshoe behind and move on to a different city, different fans, and more importantly a different generation of the NFL.
Peyton only has one thing left to answer, and that is- where will it be?
Manning has recently confirmed that the AFC is a place he would like to stay, probably keeping the dream of a Manning Super Bowl alive (at least Archie’s dream). I wouldn’t count the NFC out, depending on where the best pitch comes from.
The AFC: Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos
The three teams above have the best possibility of landing Manning on their roster sometime next week, Houston and Jacksonville have also been quietly mentioned as teams who could have a say, but an irrelevant one at that matter.
Miami: Behind a new offensive minded head coach in Joe Philbin, a promising defense, talented position players, along with the the possibility of Reggie Wayne following, Miami could be the landing spot for the former Colt (doesn’t that sound odd?). Chosen as the favorites, I think the predictions could be accurate, just imagine- Manning vs. Brady twice a year. The youngness of Flynn is something of importance, if Miami believes Flynn to be a consisent QB with a winning mentality, then 8-10 years sound a whole lot better than 3, even if it is Peyton Manning.
Kansas City: Potentially a dark horse in the Manning sweepstakes with Charles returning as the starting back, Bowe received the franchise (keeping him there for another year), and Eric Berry getting back on the field as well- the Chiefs are one Peyton away from contending. Crennel is taking over as full time head coach after the firing of Todd Haley last season (still confused on that one, besides the fact of Haley being a douche) and he is leading a group of men who actually enjoy his presence and the humble demeanor he puts on the table. Montana II?
Denver: Peyton may have met with them on Friday, but I believe this one’s just a favor to bring some attention Elway’s way because that guy can’t live without it (screw you Elway, go Browns). However, the signing of Manning in the mile-high city would potentially lead to the release of an unhappy Tebow, almost positively putting him in Jacksonville. Just a scenario we can always think about, even if Tim can’t throw a pee-wee sized football.
Also on Friday, the New York Jets reached a 3-year contract extension with QB Mark Sanchez, so without further explanation I think you get the point on Peyton with the Jets.
The NFC: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
Arizona: You know, they say teaming up with the best is what everyone is doing now these days (LeBron), well Arizona would be just that. First, the Cardinals must release the heavily invested Kolb, something they absolutely would not mind doing for the likes of Manning. Arizona also happens to be the Miami of the NFC, if Peyton comes, then Reggie comes along too. Let’s all take a deep breath because Arizona’s mediocre defense (but, underrated) plus Manning throwing to his longtime partner in Wayne and the most athletic wide out in the league, Larry Fitzgerald, is a cause for concern for the rest of the NFC. I don’t expect the Niners to win 13 games again, and the NFC West with Peyton just became a toss-up. Behind Miami, this is Peyton’s best fit. Although Arizona holds one of most horrendous O-lines in the league, just remember, the Heat don’t have a center.
San Francisco: This one’s a long shot. The Niners still want to make that long-term deal with Alex Smith, but as of now, things aren’t moving all that progressively. Not only does San Fran have an outstanding young defense, a competent head coach, but Mike Wallace has also expressed interest in becoming a 49er. If you actually think about it, San Fran could be the best fit of all, just not the one we think of. Who knows, maybe Alex Smith will remain the answer, except in the redzone of course.
Seattle: Also a very far reach for Peyton, but always an option. Tarvaris Jackson is nothing special and never will be. Remember, this is a team that has remained competitive over the last 2 seasons even with losing records and their best receiver being Sidney Rice (when he’s not injured). Honestly, Seattle would probably never happen, but it’s always entertaining to imagine Peyton and Pete Carroll exchanging ideas on the sideline.
More news from Friday: The Redskins went ahead and fell for Cleveland’s bluff by giving up 3 first rounders plus this year’s 2nd, all for the No. 2 slot in this year’s draft. Say hello to Rober Griffin III, Washington.
Peyton Manning is looking to make a decision by next week the latest, does March get any crazier?
(Also, go ahead and open this link, the one above is whole lot better than that piece of junk, right?)
About the Author
Written by Corey Rioux
A wise man once told me, "Sports are modern-day mythology." I tend to disagree. Proper grammar is optional. You can read my columns here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/c_rioux23/ You can follow me on twitter at: @C_Rioux23 You can contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org