Peyton Manning Out of Indy?
A recent story on ESPN detailed the changing culture in the Indianapolis Colts organization, specifically revolving around star quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning, who missed the entire season with a nerve problem in his neck, watched as the only team he has ever played for struggled to a 2-14 season, earning them the first overall pick in the NFL draft in April. Following the Colts’ disastrous season, owner Jim Irsay fired vice president Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian. Just a short time ago, Irsay continued cleaning house when he fired head coach Jim Caldwell.
All of the changes have taken their toll on Manning, who, at age 35, may be on his way out of Indianapolis to make way for likely #1 overall pick, quarterback Andrew Luck of Stanford. Much of the concern focused on the $28 million bonus that the Colts owe Manning in early March. Before this past season, there was very little question that Manning would receive his bonus; however, with his health a key issue, the Colts may not want to spend that kind of money on someone that may not play much longer.
This is why they should.
There’s a guy in Green Bay named Aaron Rodgers. You may know him from his Super Bowl victory last season, and his MVP-caliber season in 2011. Rodgers did not get the opportunity to start until a few seasons ago, because Brett Favre led the Packers until he left for the New York Jets in 2008. In the mean time, Rodgers had three full seasons to learn the craft of the quarterback position under one of the best of all time. Four years after he took over the starting role, Rodgers has led the Packers to three playoff appearances, a Super Bowl victory, and on a personal note, three Pro Bowl appearances. Why can’t this tactic work for the Colts and Andrew Luck?
Peyton Manning is 35 and is coming off of a unique injury, but assuming he returns to the field, Manning is still one of the best and smartest quarterbacks in the league. Watching Manning read defenses, call audibles, and essentially run his own offense is like watching Pablo Picasso paint. In my honest opinion, if anyone can train a quarterback to lead a team to glory, it is Peyton Manning.
The big problem, though, is Peyton Manning. Is he worth it? Personally, I believe so. But that’s up to the Colts to decide.