Peyton Manning: Up in the Air, Waiting to Be Caught

In the NFL, a travesty has just occurred. No, I’m not talking about the recent Saints bounty hunting controversy, although that is really steamy. On Wednesday, the great marriage of quarterback Peyton Manning to the Indianapolis Colts ended in a mutually desired divorce. This union, which began in 1998, produced eight division champions, 11 playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and one championship. In turn, Manning became a hero to the people of Indianapolis.

So, what happened? Injuries.

Manning spent the entire season on the bench after signing a 5 year/$90 million deal in the summer, and the team fell to 2-14 without their fearless leader. They even received the first pick, which was expected to be used on Stanford’s Andrew Luck. The team would have owed Manning $28 million by March 7, but instead of paying him, they chose to let him go.

So now the question is, where next for Peyton? His neck is apparently fine, and after his hero’s send-off in Indianapolis, he’s a free man.

Well, I’ve got some ideas.

First and foremost, only teams with an actual quarterback problem will be mentioned here, so the Chiefs are automatically out. Also eliminated from contention is any team with a young, rising, teachable talent, so Jacksonville and Minnesota are gone as well.

Miami Dolphins: Miami rises as a good possibility because they have a hole in the quarterback position thanks to the carousal of QBs that have been coming through Dolphin stadium the past several seasons. With offensive talent like a healthy Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall there has to be someone throwing the ball, and that’s where Manning comes in. Also, there’s South Beach, with LeBron and the Heat Three, and you know who’s in the AFC East division? Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Wouldn’t be nice to deliver some instant classics for the fans every season?

Manning in the 'ol Colts blue and white. | Photo courtesy of Craig O'Neal via Wikimedia Commons

Dallas Cowboys: In all honesty, Romo hasn’t gotten it done. He was supposed to bring the team five rings and a universe in the eyes of the Cowboys’ faithful. If owner/GM Jerry Jones has finally had enough, then Romo is gone. That said, Manning would have a field day with this team, thanks to the receiving corps of Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten. Peyton lives off of pressure and has proven that when the heat gets turned up, he stays cool. In no other city would it get hotter for Manning than in Dallas.

Washington Redskins: They have the biggest need, the most money, and could probably bring in more talent if they attached Manning’s name to the franchise. This is maybe the simplest choice for those reasons alone. Also, there could be another Manning bowl, as brother Eli plays for the NY Giants. The biggest negative is that it’s the Redskins, who are basically the real pit of the NFL. It is not as if Washington’s a terrible place to play, but the team has been so up and down and down again that the pressure would really be on Manning if the team can’t attract any other big stars.

Manning is leaving maybe one of the healthiest legacies in football today, thanks to his never-say-die attitude and constant pursuit of greatness. He will surely go down as one of the NFL’s greatest players, and like with Joe Namath before him, it is finally time for him to open a new chapter. Hopefully, he’ll have success similar to his past and more priceless moments.

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