The Peyton Manning Saga -- A Very Special 4 Winners, 4 Losers
"I don't talk to Phil. Phil doesn't talk to me. He did text me after that, saying 'Hey, sorry to drag your name into this.' I wrote back, 'Phil I don't know what you're talking about.' He said, 'Well on my show, "Inside the NFL," I made this statement.' I said, 'Phil, I hate to break it to you, but I don't watch your show, along with a lot of other people that I don't think watch that show.' Giving himself a little more credit than probably was merited." -- Peyton Manning
The Peyton Manning neck injury. It started as merely a season-crushing blow to the perennial powerhouse in the AFC South, and as the season has rolled on it's turned into so much more.
With the Colts out to a wretched 0-8 start it's become a potential draft-shaper, and with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the potential prize in that draft, it's become the daily kindling for arguments over what the Colts should do if they land the first pick, how shaky the future of the Colts franchise is, and just how franchise-changing (-saving?) a player Luck will be.
So stellar a topic is the Manning injury that I think it deserves its own mid-week edition of 4 Winners, 4 Losers. So let's get it started.....
4. Kerry Collins
You kind of had a feeling that the Colts were in trouble when Peyton Manning wasn't playing in the early part of the preseason. But the "Shitty Backup Quarterback" threat level jumped from yellow to red (blazed right past orange) when the Colts signed Collins to a one-year, $4 million deal about two weeks before the start of the season. Once the season started, it took all of about two games for Collins to be exposed for what he was -- a nearly 40-year-old guy who, in early August, was at home playing with his kids. (I've been one of those before; I was ill-equipped to run an NFL offense.) Now he's on injured reserve with a concussed head, which makes his $4 million one of the easiest gigs in the league, and spawned the question on my show "How much would someone have to pay you to give you a concussion?" (Because essentially that's what the Colts paid Collins for...they paid him $4 million to get a concussion. That's it.) Full disclosure: My dollar amount was FAR lower than $4 million. FAR lower.
3. Curtis Painter
And with the removal of Collins, Painter stepped back into the breach. Aside from his newly found relevancy being fodder for many a comedian making a joke about his last name (i.e. "You could find an actual painter who would be a better choice at quarterback"), Painter is banking some major equity in the "fooling some team into thinking he's a serviceable backup bank." The fact of the matter is if you merely get the stench of "starter" on you, even as a crappy starter, some team will pay you $7 million over three years to carry a clipboard.
2. The Colts future
Anyone who listens to my show knows that, when the severity of the Manning injury was discovered, I was driving the "Colts need to tank and get Andrew Luck" bandwagon. I cited the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA as the model for the Colts -- remember in 1996-97 when David Robinson was injured? They ended up finishing near the bottom of the NBA, winning the 1997 lottery, and securing their future for the next 15 years by drafting Tim Duncan.
The parallels are all there for the Colts -- smaller market (yes, I know San Antonio has a big population, but it's a small sports market), injured face of franchise, said face of franchise is somewhat maligned for not winning the big one enough (or in Robinson's case, at all), face of franchise is solid guy in community, and LUCK heavily involved (for the Spurs, they won a lottery; for the Colts, the draftee's NAME is Luck.) Any talk of Manning coming back for a few games at season's end is stupid on so many levels -- his health, the health of the franchise, jersey sales, everything.