Thursday, March 8, 2012

Peyton's Next Stop

As I've grown old enough to use phrases like “when I was your age,” I have realized the importance of occasionally stepping back to take notice of what's going on in the world around me. When I was a kid, I watched Michael Jordan play, but I honestly don’t remember much of it at all, so I at least want to be able to look back and say, “I remember what it was like to watch Kobe play.”

Many of us will also look back upon this time and remember Peyton Manning -- arguably the greatest quarterback of our time. We will remember how he conducted the offense like it was a video game, how amazing he was in the pocket, and his hilarious commercial cameos. Most of all, we’ll picture him in our memories wearing a blue and white uniform.

...Or will we?

Peyton was cut from the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, the only team he has played for since he entered the league in 1998. But with Peyton injured for the entire 2011 season, the Colts were a dismal 2-14. The owner, Jim Irsay, decided to restructure the team by firing their head coach, vice chairman, and general manager and, most recently, releasing Manning. His immediate predecessor will undoubtedly be Andrew Luck, whom the Colts will take with the number one overall draft pick on April 26.

And thus begins Peyton’s search for the next jersey he will don on the field. Or rather, now begins the mad scramble of 31 NFL teams to make a once-in-a-lifetime free agent signing. I fully expect the next few days or weeks (months?) to be filled with more speculation and empty predictions than the two weeks before the Super Bowl. And since GCAS is not to be left behind, here are my thoughts on the elder Manning’s future in the NFL:

Where he is not needed:
Okay, not all 31 teams are actually thinking about courting Manning. Teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints have living legends themselves (Brady, Roethlisberger, and Brees, respectively) and would have nothing to gain by it. Then there are teams with young, developing stars like Detroit, St. Louis, Carolina, Cincinnati, and Green Bay. The Chargers and Giants have extremely talented QBs as well, and I don’t see any of them making the moves necessary to go after Peyton.

Where he is needed: Arlington, TX – Let’s face it -- the Cowboys have underachieved for quite a while now. Much of America has jumped ship to cheer for the Saints after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, now, they've seen the underdogs grow into Super Bowl champions under the leadership of Drew Brees and Sean Payton. So why has “America’s team” been left in the shadows? Inconsistent coaching is one reason. The Cowboys have had 8 head coaches in 52 years, yet only two have stayed longer than 4 years. The other reason? Tony Romo is talented, but he is NOT clutch. Combine these two factors, and you get a single playoff win for the Cowboys since their last title in 1995. Peyton changes that instantly.

Where the media wants him to go: East Rutherford, NJ – I still for the life of me don’t understand why both football teams from New York play in New Jersey, but MetLife Stadium is home to the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Giants and Peyton’s little brother Eli. Can you imagine the drama of both brothers fighting for the spotlight in the “greatest city in the world"? Plus it would finally make the Jets relevant after suffering through the mediocrity that is Mark Sanchez. But it will never happen.

Where he shouldn’t go: Landover, MD – The Washington Redskins have made some absolutely terrible front office and personnel decisions in my adult life. Bringing Joe Gibbs back to coach? C'mon. And I won’t even get into how Dan Snyder is probably the worst owner in the NFL (or at least the biggest d-bag). Peyton would be wise to stay away from Mike Shanahan if he wants any autonomy with the offense.

Where he should go: Houston, TX – Okay, I know I sound really biased right now, but hear me out. Manning is looking for a Super Bowl contender with a need for an elite quarterback. I will say, then, that Baltimore and San Francisco should also be sexy choices for Peyton to look at. All three teams have top-5 defenses that should make it very easy for a QB to outscore the opponent. They also have young stud running backs that can make his life a lot easier. Baltimore moves down the list, though, for having their running back get roughly 50% more receptions than the other top 3 receivers. San Francisco, on the other hand, has great young receivers in Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree and probably an even better defense than Houston's. But the Texans get the edge for one reason: they play in the AFC South. It was hard to watch Peyton fight the tears and hear his voice breaking as he thanked the great fans in Indianapolis, and I have no doubt that he sincerely loves that city. But he is as fierce a competitor as I have ever seen, and there is no way he doesn’t want to go back and torch Andrew Luck twice a season to show Jim Irsay what he lost.

Some interesting trivia on Peyton’s former team: The Indianapolis Colts organization, formerly the Baltimore Colts, was officially formed in 1953. They were created, however, from the remnants of the last NFL team to fold. That team was the Dallas Texans.

Photos courtesy of,, and


He will never come to Dallas because for some reason Cowboys' fans (and therefore, the front office) like Tony Romo....................

Fitzgerald + Wayne + Manning in AZ -- book it

Alby already said what I was going to say. No way Peyton plays in Jerryworld.

also I personally believe it doesn't matter where he goes. One hard hit and he's done. He needs a wall for an offensive line in order to play out a whole season -- book it

Brady, Peyton, and Brees are at a different level.

Not sure if Big Ben is a legend. Maybe for his off the field exploits. He's in the same category as Eli and until Philip Rivers wins something, he's a chump. The guy has been surrounded by talent for his entire career.

And the New York teams play in New Jersey because no one in New York City or any of the surrounding New York suburbs want a football stadium in their backyard. It's definitely ridiculous, but it works out for both states. I kind of see Northern New Jersey as an extension of New York anyway.

^ How I Met Your Mother doesn't think so

...or not. Later Tebow... but at least he's out of our division.

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