Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 2/7/12

It was the night of February 11, 2000. I remember I was at a bar in Canada called Daily Planet and for some odd reason, every Wednesday night the place was bumping and there would be a line out the door. Frankly, the bar was kind of a dump. I was chilling on a black leather couch talking to a random girl and making some serious moves. In the midst of getting dissed my make-out session, I looked up at the TV and the ESPN Bottom Line said, "Bills cut Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith."

All of a sudden, I didn't care what this girl looked like and quickly ran looking for my best friend. When I found my friend and told him the news, it was as if we had just been in some movie where a life-changing situation had occurred. Just utter shock. It was the first time that the NFL had used a new vocabulary word: cap casualty.

This day and age, franchise players get cut all the time in the NFL, but towards the end of the 90's, it wasn't the case. A number of future HOFs would stay put, even if most of them were past their prime. The cutting of the Big Three opened up a new era for the NFL. "The NFL is a business" became a new catchphrase.

I mention all of this because as Bills fans, do we really think about the moment those greats were cut in one day? I'm talking like, "I will never be able to think of Big 3 without thinking how they went to Miami/Washington!! Kill me now! It burns!?"

I don't.

That's why I think the questioning Peyton Manning's legacy is nothing more than a bunch of hoopla brought up by the media. Is it really a big deal for Colts fans if he finishes elsewhere? I just mentioned three greats who were cut in one day and that's hardly even a footnote in their careers. Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, Shaq, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and many other greats all played elsewhere when their careers were towards the end. This shouldn't be breaking news, because this happens a lot. It will probably happen to Tom Brady and Eli Manning at some point.

Switching from legacy to the football side, it makes sense for the Colts to lose Manning. They are getting older and their draft picks over the last five years have been below average. They have to Chernobyl that franchise. It actually reminds me a little of what happened with the Bills during the mid-90's when the greats like Kelly and Thomas were getting up there in age and some felt the Bills needed to blow up the thing and start over. Maybe they were right as the Bills seemed to tread water from '95-'99, winning only 1 playoff game during that stretch. With Andrew Luck being touted as this blue chip prospect, you can't pass it up. Plus, I don't think Manning wants to have Luck hovering over his shoulder and playing on a team that is rebuilding.  

It sounds great for the media to talk about how this will affect the world, but the only interest to me is where #18 plays next. Colts fans will still be able to cheer for him when they retire his jersey and put his name on the Shoehorn Hall of Fame (made the name up). Will it be weird to see Manning sport a Miami/Arizona/Washington jersey? Sure, but it won't tarnish his legacy as a Colt. I don't think it is special at all if he stays in one place throughout all his years. When he retires, he can just sign that stupid 1-day contract as a Colt. It could be a kick in the nuts if he wins elsewhere, but I think the whole "He should retire as a Colt" thing is overrated. Kelly retiring as a Bill is no different than Bruce Smith retiring as a Redskin in my eyes. 

I think both Irsay and Manning need to just stop with trying to save face throughout all of this. Forget your sponsors or jerseys being burned. They are getting a divorce and need to stop caring whose fault it is. Be men and just move on. Fans will understand this. This isn't your dad's league anymore, it is a business and franchise players can move on. Fans get that and with Manning being the guy who made Indy into this awesome downtown city with a championship, I think the fans can say he's done enough for them to remember him fondly and get them excited for the next thing in Andrew Luck.

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