Peyton Manning Saga: A Reminder That Happy Endings are Rare in Pro Sports
As I renewed my NFL Sunday Ticket subscription through Satellitetv.net the other day, I almost forgot that Peyton Manning was no longer an Indianapolis Colt.
The 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback signed a 5-year, $96 million contract this offseason to play for the Denver Broncos.
Just a few short years ago, it was preposterous to think that Manning would ever wear the No. 18 jersey in any other colors besides Colts blue and white. The majority of people assumed that he would finish his epic NFL career in Indianapolis, where he transformed the Colts from a perennial doormat into an annual Super Bowl contender over 14 memorable seasons.
However, when the 36-year-old was forced to sit out the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, the Colts struggled in his absence. The team managed just two wins all season as a merry-go-round of subpar quarterbacks failed to fill Peyton Manningâ€™s giant shoes. However, the Colts were awarded the first-overall pick in the 2012 draft as a consolation prize for being the NFLâ€™s most futile team in 2011.
Coincidentally, the 2012 draft happened to be the one where Stanfordâ€™s Andrew Luck, who is largely regarded as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, was available.
The Colts, who just couldnâ€™t pass up the opportunity to draft such a rare talent, ultimately chose to release Manning and start a new era with Luck.
As for Manning, he became the subject of the most glorified free agent courtship in NFL history. Teams salivated at the chance to land one of the most decorated quarterbacks of all-time. At the end of the day, Manning chose to play out the twilight of his career as a Denver Bronco.
However, this wasnâ€™t the way the Manning era was supposed to end in Indianapolis.
Manning joins Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and Brett Favre as legendary quarterbacks who wound up playing out the end of their careers in strange uniforms.
It all goes to show you that, at the end of the day, professional sports are a business. Few relationships last long and aging stars seldom go out on their own terms.
While the final chapter of the Peyton Manning saga is yet to be written, it still wonâ€™t be the storybook ending that every football fan had hoped for.MORE MOUNTAIN WEEKLY NEWS HIGHLIGHTS: