By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)
Isn’t this the real question? Just three days before the $28 million bonus payment due Peyton Manning, why aren’t people looking at it from this angle? If you’re keeping score at home, the Super Bowl winning list reads: arch-rival Tom Brady 3, little brother Eli Manning 2 and big brother Peyton Manning 1.
How is Peyton Manning going to climb up that list?
It says here that the only way that Peyton Manning has a chance to get another Super Bowl (or more) is to leave Indianapolis.
Well, the reasons to stay are pretty obvious: money and comfort level. By giving Peyton his $28 million (although it says here that won’t happen) bonus on March 8, owner Jim Irsay will prove his “love” for Peyton. But with Andrew Luck on the immediate horizon, why would he do that? Loyalty? Maybe. According to Irsay, he and Peyton Manning have met a number of times. But the decision (a “very difficult one,” according to Irsay) hasn’t been (only publicly?) made yet. His comfort level as a dome QB and living legend in Indianapolis also would be another great reason to stay there.
If Manning gets his money and stays, he will be even richer than he already is and will continue his march to unbelievable regular season records. You know the regular-season numbers: 141-67, 54,828 yards, 399 TD passes, only 198 interceptions, 4 regular season MVP awards (more than anyone) and on and on and on.
But you also know the post-season records: 9-10 in playoff games, 1-1 in the Super Bowl, 1 Super Bowl MVP (compared to 2 for both Brady and Eli Manning).
CAN HE WIN ANOTHER SUPER BOWL IN INDIANAPOLIS?
It says here that will be virtually impossible. While the Colt defense has always lagged behind the Colt offense, it was really bad this past year. The Colts gave up 430 points this year (26.9 per game, 28th in the league). The defense was 25th in yards allowed. And they only picked off 8 passes the whole season. Awful numbers, especially if you look at them from a potential Super Bowl-winning perspective.
So which came first: a terrible team because of no Manning or a terrible defense? Well, obviously, Manning, out for the season, came first. But the Colt defense has some big holes. Weak in the secondary, apparently switching to a 3-4 under new head coach Chuck Pagano and new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, there will certainly be an adjustment period, to say the least.
Offensively, who will Peyton Manning throw the ball to? Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez are both unrestricted free agents. While we all would agree that Manning, if healthy, can lead a team to victory with almost any group of receivers, even he has his favorites.
Plus, the Colts have already cleaned house on the coaching staff (head coach, defensive coordinator) and upstairs (no more Polians).
All of this would point to a new QB and a savings of many millions for Jim Irsay. It may be a public relations nightmare at first, but why risk your future on a QB, great as he is, whose health and throwing ability are, apparently, still questionable?
If Manning comes back to the Colts and is healthy and can throw, most of us would agree that he is so great that he would give the Colts an excellent chance to be a playoff team.
But a Super Bowl-winning team?
Hard to believe that could happen.
BUT CAN HE ACTUALLY WIN A SUPER BOWL SOMEWHERE ELSE?
Another fascinating question. If he were to wind up with one of what are viewed to be the two leading candidates (Miami, Washington) to get his services if he is let go by the Colts, well, that would be a big hill to climb (from non-contender to Super Bowl champion) even for a healthy Peyton Manning.
Even though Washington beat the Super Bowl champion Giants twice, Manning would be in a brutal division with still, arguably, the fourth most talented team in the division (Giants, Eagles and Dallas all are incredibly talented teams).
Competition-wise (and weather-wise), he might be better off in Miami. But even in the AFC East, you have the always incredibly tough Patriots (and that won’t change next year), along with the talented (but up-and-down) Jets and the getting-better Buffalo Bills. Will Manning be able to go into New England, Buffalo and/or New York late in December and win big games?
Well, that’s a very difficult question to answer.
Well, whatever choices Jim Irsay and, then, Peyton Manning, make, it says here that it is going to be very difficult for Manning to get to two, let alone three, Super Bowl wins. That really seems all that is left for him to accomplish. Every regular season record is great, but to be called the greatest regular season QB ever is almost (but not quite) faint praise.
You can bet that Peyton Manning would like to catch and/or pass both Tom Brady and Eli for the stat that should mean the most to star QBs: Super Bowl wins.
And it says here that reaching that goal cannot happen in Indianapolis.