D-Day Looms Over Indy
D-Day is going to hit Indianapolis this week. No, I don’t mean the Allied forces are going to storm the banks of the White River hoping to invade and penetrate the Axis forces in downtown (I hope my grandpa Vandeventer is proud of my history reference). I mean the Decision Day is finally upon us in which the Colts will announce if their future involves Peyton Manning.
As most people in this country are aware, the deadline for the Colts to decide to keep Manning and pay him a $28 million roster bonus is March 8, which is Thursday for those of you without a calendar. Obviously, this is a huge decision and a franchise changing decision at that. Simply put Manning is the greatest Indianapolis Colt of all time. He took the team to heights that was rarely seen before he got here- can’t forget the run by Captain Comeback. He brought sustained success and a Lombardi Trophy. Without him, Indianapolis would not have been able to build up a vibrant downtown centered around sports, they wouldn’t have Lucas Oil Stadium, and they may not even have a NFL team at this time. I do not believe this is overstating the importance that #18 brought to the organization and city.
In a normal time and place paying Peyton the money would never be an issue. You would give him his bonus and he would go out and win you eleven games, a division title, and put you in the playoffs. These are “Twilight Zone” times as Peyton sat out the entire last season after several neck surgeries. I am not sure of the exact amount as there have been talk of some “procedures” that were also done for bone spurs. His health status is still very uncertain at this. His health along with his age make this such a tough decision.
Some people say that they should keep Manning here and pay him based on everything he has done regardless of if he plays again. In a perfect situation, Manning would be healthy and would come back to play at 100% for a few years, win another Super Bowl victory, and ride off into the sunset as a new gunslinger in Andrew Luck would fill his spot seamlessly. Another opinion is to bring Manning and everyone back for one more attempt at a run. Then there is the option of looking more towards the future. Let Manning go and draft the most NFL ready quarterback in decades with the #1 overall pick which was earned with a 2-14 season.
Colts owner Jim Irsay has said that if Manning is healthy and can play that he is open to bringing him back. That is the sticking point. Is he healthy and is he healthy enough to perform at a level he has his entire career? It would appear that Irsay has prepared himself for life A.P. (After Peyton). He brought in a new GM and head coach. I can only imagine what the talks have been like in the West 56th St. offices trying to devise the best plan and tactics possible. Maybe they have even read up on what General Eisenhower went through in his meticulous planning.
This is a huge day coming up. Will the greatest player of all time be let go from the franchise? Will Irsay have a heart felt decision and bring #18 back to the delight of many? Will Andrew Luck come in and live up to the hype playing in Manning’s shadow? If you ask me, I think the decision has already been made and Peyton will be released (possibly pulling a LeBron and taking his talents to South Beach?). The Colts will start completely over and do so with a new starting QB. But whatever the decision is, my recommendation for when the announcement is made is for Indianapolis to batten down the hatches and take cover as there will be a lot of emotion and reaction from people on both sides.
Here is the video of Manning throwing at Duke for those of you haven’t seen it.