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Saturday, March 3, 2012

He's the MANning

It’s never easy to let your stars go. That goes for any sport. I remember when Jordan & Pippen left the Bulls. And yes, if you were wondering, I can compare just about every sports situation to something relating to my Bulls. Anyways, it was rough. You knew the end of greatness was near and you didn't know what was on the other side of the Dynasty Years. That unknown can just destroy the psyche of fans. And it did mine in 1999. But I kept watching, as any diehard fan would do with the hope that someday my team would return to greatness. I suffered through the 5 years until my team could even get back to respectable. And in those 5 years the team compiled a 119-314 record and I watched experiment after experiment go by the way side. There was the Marcus Fizer pick. There was trading Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler to complete the Baby Bulls of Chandler, Curry, and Crawford. Then the Jay Williams pick that was ruined by a fateful motorcycle ride. I saw my team bring in Tim Floyd as a coach as well as Bill Cartwright. Also, my team missed out on then key free agents Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, & Tim Duncan. It was rough.

And for the Colts, those types of years could be ahead of them as life without Peyton Manning becomes a reality. They got a big taste of life without Manning this past season as the Colts lost their first 13 games and finished the season 2-14, worst in the NFL. Manning is an all-time great. His name is all over the record books and he has a Super Bowl victory under his belt. And more impressive, under the free agent era, he has done this all in one uniform. But in my mind, as rough as it will be, you have to cut ties with Peyton Manning. He has been the face of your franchise for over a decade and has become one of the great iconic QBs in NFL history.  All of this makes this year's decision that much more difficult (have you seen how many products he endorses??).  But it’s no secret that football is not just a sport that millions of people love and follow religiously, its a business.

Peyton Manning would love to remain a Colt and play next season and finish his career with the blue horseshoe on his helmet. If that is physically possible, I'm sure the Colts would love that too. But, there are a couple things that complicate this decision. First of which is Manning's health. He might not be 100% by the time the season rolls around. Second, because you didn't have Manning last year, you now own the 1st overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft which happens to boast 2 of the better QB prospects in the last 10 years. Third, he is due $28 million if you elect to pick up his option for the 2012 season. Colts management already paid him $20+ million to stand on the sidelines last year, the most expensive cheerleader in NFL history. Can the Colts really afford to do that again with so many glaring holes on their roster? Could you really justify wrapping up a ton of money in Peyton and a young QB you draft #1 overall? Not only that, but that young QB would have to sit on the bench for a few years. In my mind, the 2 guys widely recognized as the first 2 picks in this draft, are NFL ready next season. And lastly, that decision has a deadline and its fast approaching. That deadline is March 8th, next Thursday.

Big decisions are ahead for the Colts and its going to be FRANCHISE ALTERING. But as tough as a decision as it is, I think it’s a simple one. You have to cut ties with Peyton Manning. Set him free and let some other team take a chance on the Hall of Fame QB. He probably has 2 or 3 Pro-Bowl years left in him. If healthy, I don't doubt that to be true. However, from a financial standpoint, I just don't think you can justify bringing him back, even with a clean bill of health. The Colts need to use this past year to make a clean slate for the team and use this #1 overall pick to set up their franchise for the next 15years, just how they did when they drafted Manning. Decide who the best QB is for the future (Luck or Griffin) and use that $28million to not only sign that player, but fill in the many holes on the roster. It’s the only sensible decision in my eyes. You just can't bring in a young QB of Luck or Griffin's stature and have them holding a clipboard for a few years. Rookie QBs can have an impact (Cam Newton) and it will lessen the learning curve to get that guy out there immediately.

Manning will have options. There will be suitors for him. Washington seems like a great fit and beat Eli's SuperBowl winning Giants twice this past season. However, the Skins are looking to move up to #2 to get one of the next great arms. Miami has been starved of a great QB for years. Maybe Manning plays a few years there and then retires in Florida like many others. I could think of worse ideas. Or, why not Arizona? Kurt Warner did it and was one bad throw and one great catch away from winning a Superbowl with that team. Seattle and Kansas City also make a lot of sense. But whatever the case is, Manning will be able to move on and another fan base will embrace him.

So, as tough as it will be, you let Manning go. Let him walk like a gunslinger at sunset so to speak. Take what the football god's have given you, that being another 15 years of great quarterbacking with either Luck or Griffin (sounds like a future post) and be thankful your team's turnaround maybe be shorter than usual. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s the smart thing to do. The Andrew Lucks, the Robert Griffins, the Derrick Roses don't come around too often.

- Clark -


  1. Strongly disagree with you brother. There are 3 glaring issues with letting Peyton Manning go.
    Issue #1: I have identified the fact that it will cost you a great deal of money to keep both, however, letting him go causes a lot of issues with the rest of the Colts team, player wise. As the rest of the Colts come closer and closer to their contract, what is their motivation for staying in Indi? None, each player will begin to say, "They let Peyton go for a guy who's never proven himself, why woulnd't the do the same to me?" During this rebuilding process, not only will the Colts most likely struggle, because, as this year pointed out, they have a number of glaring holes in their lineup, but players (DWIGHT FREENEY)that they would have expected to have throughout the "rebuilding" process will leave for others teams that are willing to pay players for their accomplishments rather than their projections.
    Issue #2: Hold your two hands out in front of you with your palms up, now imagine that you are the Lord and Savior and could hold the number of highly touted, #1-3 drafted quarterbacks that were, "thrown to the wolves," as starters in one hand, and in the other hand, the quarterbacks that sat behind a pro for minimum 2 years, that eventually lead that team and might still be leading that team. Look at each hand, would you rather be looking at the hand that has Aaron Rodgers, Matt Hasselbeck, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, and Steve Young, or the other hand that holds guys like Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen, John Beck, Kyle Boller, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart just to name a few. Now before you blow up, I understand that Eli and Peyton were both rookie starters as well as but how often have Andy Dalton and Cam Newton come around? Every 8 years, maybe more? Now ask yourself where Luck or Griffin would be in 5 years after sitting behind Manning for a year or two and giving the Colts an opportunity to find a running game? Even more, "NFL Ready," than they, "currently are?" I mock that saying because Jimmy Clausen was NFL Ready, said Todd McShay, and Brady Quinn was NFL Ready, said Mel Kiper. The proof to my argument won MVP this year, just saying.
    Issue #3: I am not a Colts fan, never have been, never will be. However, my heart goes out to those Colt fans that were forced to suffer through this past year. Knowing how they continued to pack the stands and cheer on their Colts, are they prepared to do that for another potential 3 years to wait for Luck or Griffin to have enough O-Line around them to be successful in the league? Colts' O-Line ranked last in the NFL in sacks allowed last year, (note, same offensive line that ranked 6th with Manning at the helm). When the 49ers had to wave goodbye to Montana, when the Jets waved goodbye to Namath, those 2 were past their prime and concussion and injury ridden. Not the case with Peyton Manning, who is almost 100% reports Adam Schefter. I'll play Colts fan and would much rather see our, "rebuilding years," as a 10-6 team that continues to make the playoffs and compete in the NFL rather than watching Luck or Griffin who we are paying 18 million, GAURENTEED, (ask Joey Harrington, Lions are still paying that debt) to get his block knocked off for 2 years(or more) to see if he has the courage and the moxy to pick himself up again time, and time again, until they are good enough to compete? I don't think so.

    There are times when things may look really good on paper, but hurt those closest to you and your organization, I'm not a Colts fan, but I play one in the blog comment.

    1. First, thank you for the comment.

      Heres what else I think.
      1) You have to take the emotion out of the situation. Once you do that, you can see the situation more clearly and as a business.
      2) I don't believe teammates will be upset. They will understand the situation cause they are familiar with the business and rally around the new young guy comin in. To just say they would throw in the towel is rediculous.
      3) With your young stud sittin behind Manning, its a good idea. However, in the instances you mentioned, were any of the QBs those guys would of sat behind came off a neck surgery? Were any of those teams that had that great older QB holding the #1 pick? Did any of those older great QBs happen to have their 28million dollar option happen to come up at the same time you owned the #1 pick? You're simplifying the situation too much. Its not that simple as you bring in the young QB to sit behind Manning. There are injuries & money and not to mention a dealine to take into consideration.
      4) In you're 3rd issue, u made my point for me. The Colts do have O-line issues. Even more reason to use the 28million to improve the line for your 22 year old QB. And yes, Peyton may be 100% healthy. But, once again, u have to factor in money and the fact you have the #1 pick.

      So, you gotta take the emotion out of it, plain and simple. This is a circumstance like no other, there really are no comparisions. The stars aligned that on the back end of Manning's career he happened to get hurt, his option happened to be due, and they happed to land the #1 pick in a draft that boasts 2 great QB prospects. The Colts did what they had to do and Manning holds no ill fellings against them for it. Peyton Manning as great as a football player as he is, knows the business as well. And thats why, though sad, he accepts and understands the decision. It was the correct one.