While it only lasted for a quarter, yesterday Peyton Manning looked decidedly like his former self; the most notable difference was a lack of a horseshoe on the side of his helmet. Changing the play at the line, making hand gestures to his receivers, backing out from under center immediately before the snap, sliding around in the pocket just out of reach of the oncoming defense. Oh yes, and making some perfect throws and scoring points like it was his job or something.
He took a big hit. He looked seriously engaged on the sideline. He coached up his teammates. Even he admits that he's not yet 100%, and the rest of the league should worry even if he never gets back there.
So aside from the cap implications and the #1 pick and the luck of Luck waiting in the wings and whether Jim Irsay's choice was inspired or insane, I say this to all the doubters and naysayers, the pundits who insisted that he was done, that "four neck surgeries" were too many to recover from, that he was "one hit away" from retirement or -- gasp! -- certain death:
once and future fan of #18
pierrezombie, you just made me feel a deep-seeded sense of triumph. Many people have moved on and think only of 1 Horseshoe QB, Andrew Luck, and that is their prerogative. But for you and me, and many other people out there, this isn´t about gloating, isn´t it? This is about the peaceful feeling setting in our guts telling us that this is right, that Peyton Freaking Manning was not going to meet his NFL end that way, and that all his special qualities meant he would once again do the unthinkable, surpass every expectation, and cast an unique shine upon all of us. Go Peyton Manning. Go Colts.
Honestly, Manning has looked great all preseason besides one pass that he sailed high and was the only pick that was really his fault (you can argue that the nice play by the lineman to knock it down and have it wind up in his hands was also on Manning, but hard to charge that to him in my mind). Had 2 TD passes before today, but unfortunately, they were both dropped and one was picked. Anyone actually watching him play will have a hard time doubting that this isn't still an elite QB, and I hope he tears up the league.
All the same, I'm more excited to see Luck progress and lead my team to wins, though I know it's going to be a journey in order to get back to the playoffs. I will root for Manning in every game, though I'll be rooting for him to do just average whenever he next plays us haha. Imagine the standing O he's gonna get when he comes back to Indy (in a couple years). Still, I'm a Colts fan first, and a Manning fan second. I will still be wearing my 18 jersey on some sundays, though, guaranteed. Will be asking for a #12 for bday/xmas.
And just so we're clear, Long Live Manning!
The Colts will still be there long after Manning retires, so to me, I'm a Manning fan first for the next three-to-four years. Does that make me a bad fan? Maybe, but who cares. I already love two teams equally (Colts - my dad's team then my team, and the Raiders - my first NFL wife).
Plus, if Irsay's right, that gives me another 15 years to be a Luck fan.
@dmstorm22 Cool. You're on my list! The whole idea of "bad fan"/rigid team loyalty seems kind of dumb and narrow minded to me, but then again I'm a sports atheist. I can see why people like being 100% on one team, but giving other people grief for how they want to enjoy a game is bonkers. Like you, with regards to Luck, I think Irsay was dead wrong right before he cut Manning, but I hope he's absolutely right now.
Hey, I agree! I'm still ticked that Irsay said he'd bring back Manning if he was healthy. And he was! I'm rooting for Luck, of course. But I got tired of the fan posts to "move on, loser" regarding Manning. I remember seeing his first game and thought "ruh roh" this guy is not healthy. But then the highlights from this most recent game pretty much sealed that he's back.
@buymymonkey Yeah, and to my eye (admittedly biased), the highlights don't even do it justice. His pre-snap stuff, while more subdued than with the Colts, was beautiful, and his impact even on running plays seemed obvious. I even got a whiff of the 49ers D getting rattled, like they were thinking, "We'd better adjust our game here, because this is Peyton F. Manning."
@pierrezombie I admit that after Luck's first preseason "pass" that Brown took for a TD, and Irsay went beserk on twitter about the "legend begins" , I was a little miffed. Still, I understand Irsay's excitement and whenever Peyton finally decides to retire, the Colts will have the best QB in the league. And that excites me.
But it does kill me that I have to follow two teams now. And for all the football experts that are doubting how much impact P-Money can make on these Broncos and for all the haters that want to see #18 fail... be afraid. Be very afraid.
This is the most talent Peyton has had around him since probably 2005. Anything can happen in an NFL season, but as the title of this post reads, Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning.
Or as he was known to most of us around here and the way Bronco fans are already referring to him, PFM... Peyton "Freaking" Manning.
@DougEngland I completely agree, especially about having to follow two teams. Getting to watch an extra game most weeks with that much invested in the outcome will be great, but trying to keep track of the conflicting details might drive me crazy. I can't even keep the dang rosters straight: "We got Brandon Stokely back! Or, uhm, duh, maybe not."
That's a great point about the talent around him on the Broncos. I don't know about the first two preseason games, but yesterday that looked like an offense that was going to tear it up, especially considering the defense they were up against. For example, it was awesome to see Manning audible to a running play to exploit the defensive formation and his O-line actually block enough for the RB to do something positive with it. I think he's going to make Decker and Thomas look like Pro Bowlers.