It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And A Story That Simply Just Won’t Die …..

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And A Story That Simply Just Won’t Die …..

By tophatal ………….

As the NFL Scouting Combine takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis , Indiana over the next three days . It seems the a giant shadow is being cast over the whole event as the top NFL analysts and print media journalists continue to speculate over the impending future of Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning . The player due a $28 million roster bonus on the 8th March , 2012 , pending the passing of team mandated physical . With many of the nation’s top collegiate talent at the combine to showcase their skills for the coaches , front office executives and team owners at large . It has to be said that the Manning story and its disposition , is something that the NFL could well do without at present . But at the same time this is simply something that keeps the heartbeat of the game alive and essentially now what it makes it a year round staple for the media and fans at large .

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Slide show for your perusal .

With the 2012 NFL Draft order set with the Indianapolis Colts taking the first overall pick , to be followed by the St Louis Rams , Minnesota Vikings , Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . It has to be said, that this off-season is now growing into a truly suspenseful one . Albeit , that for the likes of Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III , Trent Richardson and Monte Ball , merely being at the Combine will be an event in of-itself as the players as such who will be getting their first taste of what in essence will be for them is their very first taste of professional football at the NFL level.

From my own standpoint , the moment that Peyton Manning went down injured it essentially paved the way for the team’s season to simply fall apart . And anyone who witnessed the players’ performances over the course of their schedule will know that the Colts were inept right across the board . The saying is that …. ” one man does not make a team “. but herein lies a fact and that without Peyton Manning at the helm and steer this team then at best there are no more than average squad with a record that would be at a bare minimum would be marginally above .500 . Well in 2012 they finished with a lowly record of 2-14 . And for then coach Jim Caldwell , this was something that not even he or his coaching staff could have envisaged at the time , with the team performing so hopelessly over the course of their season. In relief of Manning , Caldwell called on the talents of veteran Kerry Collins , Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter . And I’d dare if it were humanly possible to obtain the DNA of Johnny Unitas and clone him overnight , then quite possibly we would have seen him on the field playing for the Colts. So dire was the for the organization that it has to be said that team owner Jim Irsay in spite of the internal personnel upheavals this off-season , it has to be said that the short sightedness of the owner and then front office executives Bill Polian and Chris Polian simply were oblivious as to what was unfolding before their very eyes .

Peyton Manning as such , has tried to avert the attention away from his ongoing health issues by simply giving the usual customary answers , in essence stating that he hopes to return to the NFL and resume his career. Well that should come as a surprise to no one given the player’s love for the game . But at the same time you can’t help but wonder whether or not this indeed the time for the player to simply call it quits and step away from the game that he has graced for 14 years . Since becoming the number one overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft the Colts’ quarterback has simply racked up records and accolades not unlike any of his predecessors and his peers currently playing today . If there were a Mt Rushmore for quarterbacks that have graced the game and simply played at an exemplary level then I am sure that Manning’s face would be firmly placed upon that edifice alongside that of Joe Montana , Unitas , Steve Young , Otto Graham and John Elway would be amongst them, dependent upon the space available .

If Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson are not amenable to retaining their esteemed quarterback and Peyton Manning is allowed to become unrestricted free agent , then simply expect to see an all-out tug of war begin for the player’s services . Amongst the teams said to be interested in the quarterback are the Washington Redskins , New York Jets , Cleveland Browns and quite possibly the Miami Dolphins . Now given the fact that should that scenario arise whereby Manning would be joining the lengthy list of free agent quarterbacks on the market . Then one would have to wonder where this would players such as Jason Campbell , Matt Flynn and Brady Quinn .

I am sure that the list of players one way or another are bound to find themselves future homes in the league one way or another . Given the fact , that the play of the quarterbacks in the NFL this past season was of the highest caliber possible speaks volumes of as to what the fans were able to witness in 2011. Now one could question the fact that Peyton Manning’s best days are now behind him after such a long and illustrious career but given the drive , poise and professionalism shown by the player one would be foolish at this juncture to write him off ! Manning is liable come and to bite anyone in the ass that doubts his talents , including the fantasy geeks out there .

Now as a fan of the game , I know that the Indianapolis Colts will have to move on and look towards their immediate future ! The drafting of the Andrew Luck seems a “no brainer” , that’s unless that you are of the opinion that Robert Griffin III would be a better fit for this Colts’ roster . And for Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano and his newly installed coaching staff the contemplating of having either Griffin or Luck helming this team must now leave them salivating . At the same it would way too much to expect that either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to have the sort of year attained by Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers in his rookie season . The player set NFL rookie records passing yards , rushing touchdowns and passing touchdowns surpassing Peyton Manning’s rookie records of the 1998 season .

Should Irsay and Ryan Grigson not be amenable renegotiating a new contract with Manning , the thought of now possibly witnessing the player in any other NFL uniform other than that of a Colts’ jersey is somewhat sacrilegious . But in today’s NFL there is no loyalty amongst the players and owners , as the game itself has simply become about money with the players seeking to be well compensated and the franchise owners looking to make a big fat profit !

Now we can all attest to the fact that Mark Sanchez , John Beck , Colt McCoy and Rex Grossman had somewhat disappointing seasons for their respective franchises . McCoy having suffered a concussion never fully recovered the incident with many questioning the veracity of the Browns’ coaching staff and their handling of the situation in allowing the player back into a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers . Much of that has now led to the front office back-tracking on their original statements and the actions that were taken . If Colt McCoy’s tenure in the NFL as starting quarterback is to be short one , then it speaks to the insecurity that today’s quarterback has in the league from a safety standpoint .

And within the AFC North Colt McCoy had to pit his talents against Joe Flacco , Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton . The Browns’ offense but without an able-bodied quarterback one could attest to the fact that this team was anemic at best . Should team President Mike Holmgren make the decision to perhaps draft Griffin or any other quarterback that best suits the makeup of the franchise then we may well see progression in this team over the course of this upcoming season.

Mike Shanahan as coach of the Washington Redskins has never been averse to making a splash as and when needed. That was most certainly the case when signed former defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth to a 7 year $100 million contract only to then , trade the player three years into that deal. And if you thought that decision was nonsensical then consider the deal at the time when the coach then sought to bring in noted veteran Donovan McNabb . Not only was the quarterback unproductive but it actually gave credence to the argument that the player was way past his prime in so many ways. His successors John Shelton and Rex Grossman simply were best moderate to say the very least as they went about performing in the NFC East.

The fact that Shanahan might be considering moving up in the draft to perhaps snag Robert Griffin or do the unheard of in perhaps trading for Peyton Manning might be the biggest coup-de-gras over the course of his coaching career. Fedex Field in Maryland , would be a buzz at the thought of seeing a future Hall of Famer within their midst rather than the rag-tag bunch of players who have played the position of quarterback since Mike Shanahan began his tenure with the Redskins.

Having made it to two consecutive AFC Championship games only to come up short each time there’s something to be said when a franchise such as the New York Jets simply fails to live up to expectations . Especially when in each of the last two seasons head coach Rex Ryan has made outrageous claims as to his team’s greatness . Anyone who witnessed the Jets’ meltdown in 2011 can attest to the fact that the roster was a mere shadow of itself through the greater part of their 2010 schedule .

In 2011 with the high expectations to see the team’s $14 million a year quarterback Mark Sanchez regressed to such an extent that it had many questioning whether or not the player was putting in the time and effort in applying himself to his task . So much that the level of criticism that reined down on the former USC Trojans’ starter had even myself questioning the fact that whilst in the school’s heralded program , was he coddled like his predecessors Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer by then head coach Pete Carroll .

During the off-season it was plain to see the discontent to be had within the Jets’ locker room . So much so that the finger-pointing now abreast has somehow had self-serving sports’ writers within the city of New York going on beyond the norm to try and downplay some of the criticism that was being at a number of players on the team. Back up quarterback Greg McElroy as well as noted veteran LaDainian Tomlinson questioning the maturity of some of the younger players as well as several senior players on the team. The franchise’s captain Santonio Holmes as to his lack if commitment when on the field and nowhere was this more self-evident than in the final stretch run of the Jets’ 2011 schedule.

Is there a case to be made wherein the Jets should make a play in acquiring Peyton Manning ________ at this point it would no doubt create the perception that the Jets’ coaching staff and front office are giving up on Mark Sanchez after only three years in the NFL . The being the same player who helmed this franchise to two consecutive conference championship games in 2009 and 2010 . I’d like to know what it would take for not only Rex Ryan get it into his thick skull that being loudest asshole in the room doesn’t make you brightest individual there . Rex Ryan like his twin sibling Rob Ryan , who himself is not averse self publicity and regaling the fans as to who he is and what his family has achieved in the league . My belief , you create your own legacy and not ride on the one created by your patriarch ! I doubt however , Rob Ryan is actually bright enough to realize that premise much less that his brother Rex actually facing a huge dilemma as to his own coaching prowess . There’s only so much that the fans are willing to accept before they actually start to question the veracity of a coach’s ability . And slowly but surely the fans are now beginning to question the Jets’ coach and his ability as coach their team.

If Rex Ryan is now willing to make that gamble and pitch his tent and welcome Peyton Manning within his midst , then what does that indicate to you concerning his long-term support of now his precariously entrenched and beleaguered young quarterback Mark Sanchez ? Granted , within the AFC East after a truly disappointing season his own lofty standards , wherein he had to compete against a prolific Tom Brady . It has to be said it may well take a player of Manning’s caliber if the New York Jets are looking to seen as an elite team within the NFL .

All the hype that surrounded Rex Ryan upon his hire but as of now all of the smack talk in the world can’t buy the coach all of the goodwill he now seeks. The clock is currently ticking and just like a time bomb that is liable to explode if not handled right , the same can be said for the Jets’ current situation as it is currently being played out in the public arena with the ongoing conjecture . One thing for sure , it is that if this blows up in the face of Rex Ryan all of bold brash , outrageous statements and the debate as to his accomplishments will be all for nothing as he is bound to be sent packing by the Jets’ ownership group headed by billionaire Woody Johnson . And while the owner may not have yet flipped out as to the failings of his team do you get the feeling his patience is now slowly coming to the boil ? Does anyone not feel that Rex Ryan’s neck is now on a chopping block given the failures of the last three years ?

Given what we know about the NFL and the very fact that intrinsically a business first whose basis is that of operating thirty-two franchises that just happen to involved in football. As a $7.5 billion a year industry that Roger Goodell , the league hierarchy , team owners and the union have a great deal going for them . The NFL as a brand and sport is by far the most popular of the four major professional franchises and the most profitable of them all . But herein lies the caveat to this all , we as fans may well question the loyalties of the parties involved but when the driving force just happens to be making money and we’re told that success is ultimately the secondary wish for these teams what are we really to make of the drama now surrounding Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts ?

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From afar how do you view the ongoing debacle that has now engulfed the Colts and who do you feel is ultimately to blame for the ongoing saga ? Also in your honest opinion what would be the best option for Peyton Manning at this stage of his career ? Retirement , to continue playing in the NFL given his health issues or to remain in the league in some capacity ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Iowa offensive lineman Riley Reiff having ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine unwinds with some exercise in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watches players during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …..

(3) Baylor offensive lineman Philip Blake goes through a running drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(4) NFL scouts watch players go through drills at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin

(5) Alabama running back Trent Richardson answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(6) Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(7) Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III laughs as he answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(8) Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(9) Colts’ owner Jim Irsay is seen here with the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning. The relationship between Irsay and the player can be best described as being lukewarm at best . Now it remains to be seen whether or not the player remains within the organization or seeks to ply his trade elsewhere . AP Photo / Kevin Walsh …..

(10) Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez celebrate game victory in 2011 but given the inconsistency of the quarterback and that of the team during their 2011 sojourn speculation arises that the Jets’ front office may well seek to acquire Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning . AP Photo /Mark Lustig ……

(11) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 01: Rex Grossman (8) of the Washington Redskins talks with head coach Mike Shanahan during the second half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …

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The Notorious B.I.G ………. “Warning”

13 thoughts on “It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking And A Story That Simply Just Won’t Die …..

  1. If there’s anyone within the Colts’ front office who can impart some wisdom into the head of Jim Irsay then let them please stand up and do so immediately .

    It’s not about franchise tagging the player but simply doing what’s best for the organization at large and that is advantageous for everyone concerned . Money asides based on this past season Manning wouldn’t even have been the highest paid quarterback ……. in the NFL .

    “Peyton you have my word you’ll be treated with the utmost respect and dignity” ! Manning and team owner Jim Irsay

    Perhaps this Bob Marley rendition best serves up how both feel about each other ? Your thoughts ?

    tophatal ………………….

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    1. If Peyton is willing to take a pay cut, the Colts should do what the Packers did with Favre and Rodgers with Manning and Luck. If Luck is really as pro-ready as the scouts say he is, after learning under tutelage of Peyton Manning, he’ll be just plain deadly.

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      1. Sam’s Sports Brief

        A pay cut no …… but a restructuring of the contract is the only possibility . The NFLPA would be in an uproar if that premise were to happen as it goes against the existing CBA (collective bargaining agreement) . Granted, in the past it has happened where players have been asked to take a pay cut and then have their contracts as such incentive laden based upon performance incentives . But that won’t happen here with Manning and the only way for Manning and the front office to work out something amenable is a restructuring of the contract and that’s something I believe that Tom Condon , Manning’s agent will be amenable to . Drew Brees on the other hand is about to get paid by the Saints as they can ill afford to let him test the free agency market . Condon also just happens to be Brees’ agent as well .

        tophatal ………

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      1. I didn’t, because I can’t really stand the combines. I saw a highlight of him running on SC, but that’s about it. It feels like you can’t miss with either at this point, but I’m still taking Luck if I’m the Colts, unless you think RGIII can come in and make up for the running and passing game they were lacking in last season…

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        1. chappy 81

          The NFL Scouting Combine is like a damn dog-n-pony show ! It’s not too dissimilar to the reality show about the kids in beauty pageants (Toddlers &Tiaras) . Can you imagine Andrew Luck being dressed in a tuxedo and being asked to give a recital and then his rendition of the latest “Billboard Top 40 pop hit” ? The combine to my mind is no different ! We won’t really know what these guys can do until they take first professional snap in the NFL !

          Channeling her inner Lady Gaga or Madonna perhaps ? Now let’s see what Kiper or Todd McShay would make of that if the college talent had to perform like a kid in a beauty pageant ?

          The Scouting combine is no different from a kids’ beauty pageant !

          tophatal ….

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  2. I do have to say, Al, that there’s some pretty interesting drama heading into this draft.

    We all know Luck will go number one, but what of Manning? And how high will Robert Griffin actually go? Are NFL franchises really ready to make this kid their QB of the future? And how does that open up other top talent for other teams?

    Personally, I can’t wait to see which direction the Bucs go at 5.

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    1. Chris Humpherys (@SportsChump)

      The Bucs have so many issues on both sides of the ball that it’s simply worrisome to even think about it much less say where they should start in terms of this upcoming NFL Draft .

      I think if Manning is amenable then his contract will be restructured and then we’ll see what happens from there ! But if not then look for the player to be traded for a slew of draft picks that’d be of benefit to the Colts’ organization .

      tophatal ………… .

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  3. If Manning is able to play this year he should head south to Miami. The Dolphins are on the rise and all they need is a quality quarterback to make them a contender.

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    1. al clements

      I don’t know that Irsay and the Colts’ front office will be amenable to paying Manning the $28 million owed even if they restructure his existing contract and then sign Andrew Luck and have to pay him the prevailing rate for a rookie #1 quarterback !

      Let’s not forget they’re talking about Luck as if he’s far better than even Cam Newton . And as we all know the Panthers qb set the league (NFC) alight last season with his stats and it’s not as his contract (Newton’s) is anything to be sniffed at ! Your thoughts ?

      tophatal ………

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