The 2011 season is winding down after another great weekend of the sport we all know, love, and follow with a passion. Championship weekend provided us with two great down to the wire football games which clearly defined the definition of playoff football agreed?
We had pretty much every ingredient you wold expect championship weekend to have, Missed field goals at the dying moments of the games, dropped touchdown catches which could have altered the outcome of the game in the opposite direction that its outcome indicates and a toe to toe overtime game which went in to the late hours of Sunday night during a stormy night.Not to mention the opportunity to relive a 2007 Superbowl rematch Between Eli and Brady Indianapolis leading to the ? will this be the last time Colts fans get to see a Manning step on to a football field in the state of Indiana?
We are still a couple of months away from getting the answer to the 28 million dollar question, and to be perfectly honest anyone who attempts to answer that question at this point in time is not giving you any concrete information so im not going to sit here and play Rob Lowe.
However if you were to read the tea leaves they would honestly tell you there is a very high probability that this was indeed his last season in Indy. I could already feel the excitement in South beach Payton to Miami? sounds great on paper right?
However i just want to point out a few things that should not be overlooked by any stretch of the imagination. We all need to remember that this organization has been in this position before, and the outcome has shown varied results.
As painful as it might be i feel the need to take a trip down memory lane as we need to put some perspective in to the whole situation. Remember when Drew Brees became available? we were all almost certain that that horrendous quarterback drought was over, he would come to Miami and we would become contenders for the next 10 yrs? ( as he was much younger then Payton is now)we had the opportunity to find that QB to lead our team for the next decade. We decided at the time that Brees was coming of a crucial shoulder injury and was too much of a risk for us to take a chance on as the shoulder is an integral part of a quarterbacks throwing mechanics, if he doesn't have a strong shoulder he cant throw adequately. We just didn't believe that that shoulder can heal to a 100 percent and Brees would never be the same again.
Well a Superbowl ring, several playoff appearances later, and a revived city later we came to find out that investing on all those Culpepper jerseys wasn't exactly the best way to go. Fast forward to the 08 season it was the start of a new era we drafted th so called quarterback of the future in Chad Henne, brought in CP10 at the last second to replace Mcown and everything seem extremely promising at the time remember?. CP10 was great and all and I'm sure we are all very grateful for he key role he played in the biggest turnaround in franchise history.
There was just one " minor" issue which clearly turned out to be of no small significance. Pennington was released from the jets for a reason, he also had dealt with not only one but several shoulder issues enough to waiv a red flag but we took a chance anyway.(Don't get me wrong im glad we did you never really know the outcome of any particular situation i.e Brees) anyways Pennington went on to struggle with that injury which pretty much ended his career in 2010. Fast forward to today, im not by any means comparing Chad to Manning but it does seem like deja vu doesn't it? BIG difference here is now we are talking about nerve damage to the neck area, an area that can not only end a players life as a professional QB, but can also cost unimaginable damage that can impact his life after football. No one really knows the extend or severity of the injury except Payton and the Colts. Anyone that tells you otherwise including Rob Lowe is basing their statements on pure speculation. I will say this though, even if the Colts do select Luck in this years draft and follow the script, it doesn't mean you release a healthy Manning that can give them at least 3 to 4 more years at a high level. Of course there is other factors that go in to the equation such as Manning's personal decision does he want to be released, what team would he like to play for? or even better does he even want to continue playing? there is a not so far fetched possibility he pulls a Marino and retires.
Manning obviously doesn't have any economical issues to worry about and his life after football is basically written down in pen as a success. One last thing i do want to point out is that that i firmly believe there is a difference between a franchise quarter back who will lead your team for over a decade and a top tier franchise qb nearing the end of his career with less then 5 yrs at the most left in the tank.