Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Debunking some myths about Manning

There's sports analysis, and then there's overanalysis, and there's been as much of the latter as there has the former since four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning became a free agent last week.
Here are some of the grander assumptions in the speculation over Manning's future:
- Manning won't sign with Washington or the New York Jets because he doesn't want to play in the same division as or be a crosstown rival with his younger brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
- He won't sign with Tennessee because the Titans play in the same division as Indianapolis and Manning doesn't want to play against his former team two times per season.
- Manning won't sign with the Broncos because it gets cold and snowy in Denver and he's used to playing home games in a covered stadium.
- The Dolphins and Cardinals have the inside track on Manning because Miami and Arizona have the best weather.
Are you kidding me? Do people think Peyton Manning is that much of a sentimentalist or creampuff? The guy's a proud champion and one of the fiercest competitors who ever stepped onto the football field. He'd push Eli down the stairs if it gave him a competitive edge, and there's probably nothing he'd like better than to stick it to the Colts twice a year. If he signs with Miami or Arizona, it'll be because he thinks one or the other gives him the best shot at winning a Super Bowl, not because he's excited about the early bird specials and the abundance of shuffleboard facilities.
Having been deemed expendable by the only NFL team he ever played for, Manning is probably more motivated than he's ever been, and anyone who portrays this year as the beginning of a de facto semi-retirement wasn't paying close enough attention to the professional pride and pursuit of excellence he brought to his first 14 seasons.

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