Originally posted on Player Perspective  |  Last updated 10/24/11

Peyton, NFL fans are grateful for everything you brought to the game. Now go home and be with your family (and take Tony Dungy with you!)

I’m back again with 5 more NFL-related things that must be stopped. Let’s dive in!

1. Premature Ejectulation. I made “ejectulation” up because I needed a word to describe taking out a really bad QB out when it’s too late to win the game or prove any discernible point. In general, I’m opposed to benching QBs during games UNLESS that QB is the franchise player. I know that sounds odd, but benching a franchise player is proving a point. It’s just a gesture to wake the guy up after a bad spate of games. It doesn’t shake the team’s confidence in what is going to happen next. Benching guys who are in jeopardy of not starting just causes confusion.

What would have been the harm if Mike Shanahan had have let Rex Grossman finish out his game against the Philadelphia Eagles and announced Beck as the starter before the next game after talking to the team? His decision to bench in dramatic fashion *two snaps* sends a jolt through the team. When you have players like Santana Moss, who barely speak at all and certainly isn’t one to cause controversy, tell the media that the team was behind Rex Grossman, you have a morale issue that isn’t helped by embarrassing the guy they support. No reason Shanahan had to announce via benching that Grossman’s starting days were over.

This weekend, there was other Premature Ejectulation by Raiders coach Hue Jackson First we all thought that Carson Palmer WOULD play (despite it being highly unlikely that he was in good enough shape). Then we find out that Kyle Boller would definitely start. Boller had a horrendous game, and not only deserves to be benched but to be banished from football forever. However, the Raiders were down 20-0 when Jackson pulls the plug on Boller and puts in Palmer who, also, performed in horrendous fashion.

If the Raiders would have just waited to play Palmer, they would have had two weeks (their bye is this coming week) to get the team excited about their chances with Palmer. To forget about the bad game with Boller and to work their asses off to be better with a new QB after the bye. Now Jackson has compromised that by putting Palmer in a game  he wasn’t prepared for MENTALLY as well as physically in circumstances that suited no one. And now the team probably doesn’t think their chances are any better with Palmer given how bad he performed. yay, raise the roof!

Whether or not Palmer can carry the team remains to be seen, but before Boller was benched and Palmer came in a stunk up the place, there was still a healthy amount of hope. What would have been the harm in letting Boller just finish? Now Jackson must spend the bye week getting the team motivated and helping them forget this week.

2. Romanticizing Peyton Manning. Okay maybe I’m just not a sensitive kinda dude (dudette?), but every time the Colts “play football” (or whatever they call what they’re doing) the narrative about how Manning should be MVP cause it’s clear that he IS the Colts arises… Yeah blah blah blah. GAG ME WITH A SPOON PLEASE.

Okay, I get it. I’m not gonna argue Peyton Manning’s value to the winless Colts. Manning is one of the greatest QBs of all time. Got it.

But to make it sound so romantic is a crock of ********. The Colts deliberately passed on building a better team in favor of giving Manning complete control and confidence. Despite the fact that Manning is now 35 and Reggie Wayne, who has to get over 100 receptions in a season for the Colts to be worth a damn, is 32.

The Colts had the opportunity just like every other franchise in the NFL to build a balanced team. It was THEIR DECISION to choose to give Manning a big contract (structured favorably to the team at Manning’s request, of course) to mask the deficiencies in their team rather than making a team that didn’t need all that. And sure he masked it. And sure he’s awesome. But there’s nothing romantic about it.

Maybe I’m in the minority but I don’t believe that the Colts would have won 13 games or done much in the playoffs this year with Manning at the helm. They just suck too much. And you can spare me the meme of how having Manning inspires confidence and makes the team better. I’m all for talking about value, and maybe they wouldn’t be winless with Manning, but these Colts are not just winless they aren’t even competitive. Last night they lost to the Saints 62-7. And there’s no way on God’s green earth Jim Irsay thought this was a Super Bowl contending team with or without Manning playing.

So sure, saying “no player has ever meant more to a team than Manning means to the Colts”  is correct (by the way, how do people end up repeating the same lines? I’ve heard this on twitter, blogs etc???)  I’d rather hear “no team has ever actively let their team go to **** because they have a great QB and an elite Wide Receiver.”

Not as romantic, but more fitting in my opinion.

3. Talking about Peyton Manning like it’s inevitable that he’s coming back. I’m looking at you Tony Dungy. Manning is not coming back. And if he does, he’s sicker in the head than he is in the neck! I’m looking at you Peyton Manning.

4. Tony Dungy. God. Please. Make him go away. What is this? So Tony Dungy thinks that the Colts should draft Andrew Luck and trade Peyton Manning? If Dungy thinks Manning can play why wouldn’t he want Luck to learn behind him? Maybe since Manning played right away Dungy thinks Luck can too. And maybe he’s correct. So let’s move on to my next issue…if I’m a Colts fan, and my team sucks, and the team didn’t exercise their option to get rid of Manning early in the season, preferring to pay him during the summer and for the season just to make annoying faces on the sideline…and then they draft a new QB and trade Manning for what-I have-no-idea cause who really wants a QB with a broke neck, I’d be pissed.

People have all the confidence in the world in some of these great players…until their team starts eyeballing them…

If you want to get caught up on how Manning has been taking all of this, here’s a great ESPN article. I think both Manning and his story is pretty fascinating and I admire his strength…though I make no bones about thinking he’s a bonehead for considering a comeback.

An excerpt:

The biggest unknown, of course, is whether he’s finished. Manning maintains that he hasn’t contemplated that prospect, but anyone who knows him knows that can’t be true. He always thinks three steps ahead. And this injury has been years in the making. Dungy recently said he believes Manning first injured his neck against the Redskins in 2006, when the quarterback was twisted between two defenders. He wiggled his arm after he stood, as if it had gone numb. Neither he nor the Colts knew it until after the season, but Manning had pinched a nerve in his neck. On March 3, 2010, Manning had surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago to repair it. For a while, the pain subsided. But this spring, the pain returned. So on May 23, he was back at Northwestern as doctors shaved part of the bulging disk that had pinched the nerve.

Unable to rehab with Colts doctors due to the lockout, Manning sought help from outside sources. Each day, he e-mailed videos of his exercises and simulated throws — and pictures of his twins, son Marshall and daughter Mosley — to Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe, who’s known Manning since high school and has become something of a career quarterback counselor to Peyton and Eli. Typically, Cutcliffe would ruthlessly critique Peyton. But when Manning, angry and frustrated, told him that the pain hadn’t decreased, the coach eased up. “Our conversations turned from getting his body back to getting his mind well,” Cutcliffe says.

Manning felt sorry for himself. He blamed the lockout. Cutcliffe told him that the bravest part of being an athlete is knowing that you don’t always win. But that advice didn’t help. “The realities of the situation hit him hard,” Cutcliffe says. Others tried to help too.

Manning has always been a ready therapist when his friends have been injured. Stokley tore his Achilles tendon in 2006 and grew so depressed that he decided to retire. But before Stokley filed papers, Manning took him to dinner and asked, “What’s your plan?”

“I think I’m done,” Stokley said.

“No way,” Manning said, lips compressed and eyebrows arched, conveying the certitude of a perfect audible. If Peyton thinks I can play, Stokley thought, then I’m going to try. Five years later, he’s still in the game.

 

 

Related Posts:
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