Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. After months of lamenting the public PR battle and made-for-TV drama being produced by Colts owner Jim Irsay and quarterback Peyton Manning, Colts fans finally got what they wanted (and immediately regretted it): a resolution. Multiple sources report that, at press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Irsay will put the final nail in the era of Colts football that helped the NFL rethink offenses and helped reshape a state's sports culture and landscape by announcing that the team has decided to part ways with Manning.
There will be plenty of time to dissect the decision to part ways with Manning in the coming days, weeks, months, and, yes, years. Was parting ways with Manning the right choice? Until we see how all parties involved perform no one - and if they tell you otherwise, they are just trying to sell you something - knows. Will Manning perform at a high level for years to come? Will Luck live up to the unrealistic hype and expectations that will be heaped upon him by the media, experts, and fans in the months leading up to the season opener? While it makes for interesting conversation and analysis, the focus, for one last time, should be on Manning and the Colts.
As player-fan relationships go, the one shared by Peyton Manning and Colts fans is unique. Through his rare combination of on-field talent and domination and off-field charm, quick-wit, and humor, Manning and the Colts cultivated a fiercely deep, loyal fan base not only in Indiana, but around the globe.
In Indianapolis, a city once in danger of losing the Colts to relocation, Manning's influence is front and center. Not only did the success of his Colts teams help pave the way for a new state-of-the-art facility that would secure the Colts place in Indianapolis for the foreseeable future, but stop any resident, man or woman, young or old, and ask them for a their favorite "Manning Memory" and they'll rattle off a hand full in no time. From his amazing comebacks against the Buccaneers, Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, and Patriots (did I mention Patriots), to his hilarious commercials and Saturday Night Live skits, Manning left an indelible mark on every Colts fan.
Across the state of Indiana, Manning's influence helped convert a group of Hoosiers who ate, slept, and breathed basketball into true "Blue Bloods" (on sale now). Aided by the decline of the local college basketball teams and the retirement of Reggie Miller, by the early 2000s, Indiana was a Horseshoe state through and through.
Around the globe, the success of Manning's teams helped turn the Colts into a global brand. To help you understand how far Peyton's influence reached, here's a list of countries from which Colts Authority gets hits: The U.S., Canada, eh, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, England, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Australia (these are separate!?), Wales, Italy and Massachusetts. As great as our writing is, none of this would be possible if not the enormous success (and likability) of the Manning-led Colts.
But the relationship went beyond that. It was more than just an appreciation of talent, of skill, of success, more than just rooting for a guy because he put up great stats. Somewhere along the way, Peyton Manning became "ours". At some point being a Colts fan often meant more than just rooting for the team on game days, it also meant defending Peyton against the media labels of "choker" and "greedy".
At some points, after the rise in popularity of the NFL Network and twitter, defending Peyton and the Colts seemed like a part-time job. It was worth it to Colts fans, though, as they knew that they would be vindicated in the end. They knew that Manning, already a Super Bowl champion, would have a good shot at at least one more legacy-cementing title before his career ended. On top of that, Colts fans understood that their unbreakable hero would soon be rewriting the record books, a feat that not even the most staunch Manning detractors could ignore.
And then, suddenly, without warning, it was over. Sure, there are some nice vocabulary words we could use to explain and understand the situation - discectomy, spinal fusion, nerve regeneration, Andrew Luck - but the reality is, whatever the reasoning, some time soon, Peyton Manning will sign with some other team. He'll become some other fan base's unbreakable hero.
Colts fans are out of a job, but there was no better job to have from 1998-2011. He's no longer "ours". Maybe the reality of sports is that he was never really "ours" in the first place.
To the Peyton-era Colts: Thank you for everything.
Officially no more Brackett, Clark, Addai, Bullitt next year. Probably no more Wayne or Freeney. I sure will love putting my heart and soul into rooting for this random group of strangers next year!
@Fondue Yeah, I'm really looking forward to rooting for all that dead money. "Did you see what Brackett's expired contract did on that play?!" Fun stuff. On the plus side, at least they cut Painter. Probably Grigson's best decision yet.
@Fondue See the bigger picture bro. Its a bitter pill but it was always one which was gonna be swallowed at some point. The team needs us now!
Peyton gave the Colts 115 wins, 11 playoffs runs, a Superbowl ring. But most of all, he gave a lot of people ineffable joy, a reason to believe in the unbelievable (38-34 forever), too many great memories to count, the certainty that hard work begets more pride than talent, and the sensation that we were fortunate, really fortunate to be alive and see him play. So Peyton, if you ever catch a whiff of this, just know that us Colts fans did have it all with you as our QB, brilliance, determination, class, and gratitude. We love you.
And thanks again, Greg, for comforting this lonely Colts fan, who wanders and wonders with a broken heart how it came to pass that I lost the one who gave me the gift of football, but thanks to other Colts fans out there, I don´t feel like I have lost everything. May Peyton play as long as he´s willing. I´ll be there all the way, transfixed and grateful.
Note - I came here from England in 02 ad because I moved to Indiana, the Colts became my team, even before I started appreciating the skills of Manning, the team came first. Only jersey I ever bought was 88's while I got some others inc. 18's as gifts. I will buy the black 18 jersey if I ever run into it.
The best QB I ever saw play. Since he joined the league, there's been a few who've been good in my eyes, I mean so good that I'd build a team around their talents...
Tom Brady has been elite since 2007 (when he got Moss) and has stayed at that level since but before then it was more about Belichick and the NE system, Brady was more of an ice hearted guy who didnt make foolish mistakes but never quite owned his team like he does now.
Aaron Rodgers is another scary good QB who for my money, if he adds a few things to his game just might get to the 18 level, I feel D-coordinators don't give him the respect they gave Manning quite yet and when they do we'll see how good he is, definitely a much better player than Favre was and if he maintains this level GB will be in the playoffs every year for a long time but staying healthy is tough and that's what 18 and 4 were able to do.
Then Drew Brees who is another QB who just has that knowledge of his system, I don't put him at the level of Manning or maybe even Rodgers(or what Rodgers could be) but he's another great QB I've seen since 2001 (put it this way, if 18 and Rodgers are at the Jordan level, Brees is like Rondo, a great player but not quite that whole package).
Then lastly Steve McNair......some might not agree with me but this guy scared the daylights out of me everytime we faced Tennessee, I mean he was the embodiment of what they were, a brutal, strong, able QB who could kill you. He was the perfect QB for a running team. He's what Big Ben in Pittsburgh hopes to be.
But if all those guys were 4, 4.5 or even 5 star (in Rodgers case) QB, Peyton was 6 stars. Like that hotel in Dubai that's just so good, it's one of a kind. I salute you 18, the best QB I have EVER seen. A guy who had it all. I don't know if he'll ever be the same, if anyone can do it, he's one of those few men that can. I think he'll max out at 5 stars though, but once again. Much respect 18 and good luck wherever you go. I fully understand, respect, and support the decision made by you and the Colts. It was indeed, the perfect storm.
Welcome Andrew Luck, you've got Godzilla sized shoes to fill, you'd better start prepping, we don't tolerate failure around these parts.
I am devasted. It was a very, very sad, tough day for us fans and I chocked up for sure when he was talking about the fans today. We will miss him so very much. I just can't imagine him in another jersey. It's a terrible day for all Colts fan. :(
I'm as devastated as anyone that #18 is no longer with the colts. It was a decision both he and Irsay made together. I understand all the sadness and how emotional everyone is about this situation, but don't take this out on Kravitz. The articles he wrote played no part in Peyton's release. The anger toward him is terribly misplaced and solves nothing. Kravitz was doing his job and his job is to write from an unbiased perspective, not as a colts fan. Ease up on all the vicious personal attacks, and show a little class!
@CurtisMitchum Thanks Curtis. I'm glad there's someone else out there that isn't hating on Kravitz. He did his job through all of this and did it well. The complaints about his articles reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom refused to listen to the national announcers during games. She would mute the TV and listen to Lamey because "the TV guys are biased against us". Of course it's Lamey that's biased for us but in her eyes...
Just because it's something you don't want to hear doesn't make it untrue. Yesterday was the saddest day I've had as a sports fan but I understand the decision and why it had to be made. If you want to blame somebody blame the Polian's for not having a better backup plan at QB. Blame Caldwell for coaching the team as though Collins, Painter, or Orlovsky could run Peyton's offense. If we win 2 more games last year we're picking 4th overall and Peyton is still our QB.
Wormtongue admitted as such in his post about Bill Polian after Polian was fired. He admitted that he made it personal and rejected initial overtures from Polian because he believed that is the way journalists were suppose to act.
And then his "noodle arm" comment that he was forced to apologize for and try to write it off as a poor example of trying to be funny.
How much influence Wormtongue has is probably very mininimal. But make no mistake, he has an agenda, and it is all about Wormtongue Kravitz. The truth be damned.
@pehoff11 @CurtisMitchum Nobody's blaming Kravitz for Manning being released or reporting the truth from this past week. It's mostly the fact that for years he's spat venom at Dungy, Polian, and Manning using lazy, cliched, untrue arguments because they sell instead of actually doing objective research. Then, after railing against their shortcomings, he'll be super rosy and favorable towards their legacy, acting like there's a huge hole in his heart that they're gone. Guy's a POS.
@CurtisMitchum That's what Kracitz does. 10 years of trying to run everyone that has been good for the Colts great and then when he gets what he's asked for, he writes the tribute. Hypocrysy when it's worst.
@CurtisMitchum I'd buy that if he didn't have a 10 year history of hating on Manning.
"Maybe the reality of sports is that he was never really "ours" in the first place."
Sad, but true unfortunately
Wormtongue Kravitz's latest post at Indystar.com. Predictable and insincere. Up so quickly because there is not an ounce of true emotian in it.
Seriously, I don't want to get anyone in trouble. but can an extremely fast person, slap the crap out of him.
@DougEngland It's hilariously ironic (or ironically hilarious) that Bob Kravitz is today's biggest water carrier for the Colts. He's perfectly toeing the company line about "circumstances" and "there was no choice". I can appreciate that today's not the day to unpack all the messy details behind the breakup but GTFO with that bullshit. Let the Colts write their own PR, don't write it for them.
But I forgot, Bob's a good boy now, at least as long as the team grants him the access that Polian always denied him. Pusillanimous little crapweasel.
Are you guys at Colts Authority asleep at the switch? The Manning presser has been over for 2 hours and there is zero new content today, not even in the links, as I write this. If you want to be seen as the go-to site for Colts news, you can't act like a daily newspaper. Since we all knew this was coming, I was expecting analysis or open threads yet everyone here dropped the ball.
And will someone explain that huge gap of white space under Nate's headline yesterday than Manning is gone? Whatever the intent was, it didn't work and made it look like the site was all screwed up.
I love that there is an alternative to Stampede Blue, but on the biggest news day for the Colts in years, you all blew it.
Honest question, what would you like to have seen?
I kept my podcast-day routine in place and took a nap, so I wasn't awake for the press conference... I suppose we could have had an open thread, but I'm not sure what analysis there is to be done that we haven't written.
Manning has been released, our draft coverage will start first thing tomorrow morning, as Colts Authority looks ahead to the New Era of Colts football.
@GregC Do you guys plan on doing any in-depth speculation on where Manning is likely to end up, or will there be a hard-line approach of Colts football and only Colts football?
@Goéland Seriously, wherever he goes, if he's playing next year that will instantly become my 2nd favorite team. Shelling out the cash for NFL Sunday ticket is going to hurt, but for a chance to see him finish out his career? As the ads say, priceless.
@Fondue I believe we'll be keeping it mostly Colts related. I'm sure we'll have something up once Manning finds a new team, but his new team won't be the Colts, so we won't be focusing on his destination all that much.
It could be that Nate is doing a TV appearance. Also, really? What the hell is there to say? We're all in mourning and stricken by grief. That's pretty private. If you want to read that Peyton got released, every news site in America is carrying that news. The implications of no Manning has been discussed to death for months. The older entries are still there. Have fun.
Yeah, I'm glad Stampede Blue broke the news of Peyton's release. Otherwise I never would have heard about it!
I agree to a certain degree that it seems odd there isn't more info but trust me dude, this site is far superior to SB. I've gotten into some pretty heated debates with some of the CA writers, but the material on CA is always honest and level headed, and quite frankly second to none. Stick around. You'll get what you're looking for.....eventually. It's hard to write with misty eyes. I'm sure more is coming.
@JTBLA If I'm not mistaken, and Nate can correct me if I'm wrong, I think that is intendid to be a moment of silence.
Is there going to be a new Check it to Pancakes tonight to talk about this?
I'm a little torn on all of this. I understand why they are doing it, I'm just afraid Luck isn't going to pan out and we are going to be looking like idiots.
@GregC What time? Also, what do you use to do your podcasts?
@GregC @PacersCenter I may call in / be on after a while. Depends on when I get back to the hotel after dinner.
@PacersCenter For now, we'll remain on our same schedule, 10pm - 12am eastern. I use BlogTalkRadio since we do it live, and skype with that.
I keep trying to talk myself into this... that Peyton can now go wherever he wants and be in a much better position to win another Super Bowl.
And then he says to all Colts fans "I have loved being your Quarterback" and starts crying.
And I'm sitting in my car and I'm tearing up uncontrollably... gosh damn, will someone please walk up to Wormtongue Kravitz and slap him.
@DougEngland You just KNOW that Two Face is going to turn back to Harvey Dent for his next column. In spite of years spinning lies about Manning being a choker and trying to run him out of town, he'll pay a glowing tribute full of "Thanks for the memories, it's a shame you have to go" type lines. Makes me sick.
New York objects to Massachusetts being a separate country and it not being recognized as such. Also, since when was Canada a separate country?!
I couldn't think of a better way for that press conference to have gone. That was perfect. Contrast that with Clemens, Favre, and Lebron. We're a lucky fanbase.
My first reaction was just feeling numb for a very long time. Now I'm just depressed.
I didn't own a Manning jersey, but I made sure to buy one last night.
It's somewhat annoying to me to listen to people acting like robots about this. "It's a business decision, get over it." If it's all about business then these same fans must sell their tickets on Stub Hub for double face value. It would be stupid not to double your money. Seriously, it's just business.
Exactly. "It's business." What?!? I have never watched football that clinically, and I doubt anyone truly has, either. If so, I don't get them. I watch with my emotions on my sleeve, screaming and cheering at the TV screen. It's a game of passion and heart. It is way more than just a business, and my heart has hurt since this became official news yesterday, more than I anticipated.
When people's hearts are affected, business decisions carry consequences. Don't tell a fan he can't take it personal. It is personal. That's why we watch, cheer, and spend our money.
Today is a sad day. We didn't just witness a business transaction. We had our hearts torn out.
@Peyton for President There are very few games I can get double face for on Stub Hub even during Super Bowl runs. When I can, I do. Last year we were unable to unload tickets for less than face when we couldn't go. Also, remember season ticket holders pay 1.25 face.
@kasey_junk Well I guess we go to Colts games for different reasons. I buy tickets to watch my favorite team play not to make money. If your tickets are any good you shouldn't have a problem getting rid of them for double. I've paid well over double on more than one occasion. The furthest I've sat from the sideline was row thirty one, which was the last row of the first section in the RCA Dome. Sunday Night Football against the Ravens in 2004. If you can get tix 2-3 times face value on the sideline you've done pretty well from my experience. I'm not sure last year paints an accurate picture of how hard it is to get Colts tix. Either way, I was making a point. It's not just business, it's emotional. Some people act like you're an idiot for showing emotion about this decision. Hell, isn't one of the Colts trademarks, "Make it personal"? Doesn't Irsay call his team a family? I don't recall seeing anyone with the bumper sticker "Colts Football, Strictly Business".
@Peyton for President Oh, I go for the same reasons, but when I can get double face I have to take it for "business" reasons (the business of offsetting my season ticket prices and keeping my wife happy).
I don't disagree with your point about emotion being important for fans, but sometimes money decisions do have to take precedence to emotions.
That said, I believe Irsay and Manning when they say it wasn't about money.
Maybe what hurts me most is that Manning now misses out on that "folk hero" status that Elway, Stockton, Musial, etc. have. Lifers that came to define their community. Peyton's done more for his city than just about any athlete since Johnny U (Shut up, Drew Brees! Your story was always overblown!) and I had always hoped he'd coach here and retired here since to the rest of the world he IS the city, just as he IS the franchise. With any luck there will be no sour grapes and he'll come back at retirement but I guess the odds would be against it now.
@Fondue I agree. Just to sarcastically spin your comment concerning Elway. How ironic would it be if Peyton ended his career like Elway by winning two straight superbowls, and Luck started his career like Elway and demands to be traded? I wonder how supportive people would be then?
@Peyton for President If Luck demanded a trade AFTER we cut franchiseJesus, he would be the most vilified football player since OJ. Also my head would explode.
@Fondue Lol. Yea, I'm thinking people would take to the streets with their torches and pitch forks. Obviously I don't want that to happen. You mentioning Elway made me think about it.