Originally written on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 2/11/12

The year was 1998. Tiger Woods had won one of his fourteen major championships. Bill Clinton was president. Matthew Stafford was ten years old. And Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Indianapolis Colts would never be the same.

That year, Peyton Manning took his first snaps as a Colt. In the next 13 years, Indianapolis would see three mayors, a population increase of over 5%, and a new stadium – but only one quarterback. That is until the calamity that was this past season, when Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins, and Dan Orlovsky all proved what many football fans had assumed for years: Peyton Manning is the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore in 1984. Before Peyton Manning took the helm, they were a laughable franchise. In their first 14 years in Indianapolis, they had only five winning seasons (all 9-7) and an overall record of 88-137. Since Manning became the face of the franchise, the Colts have had 11 winning seasons, and not counting this year, a record of 141-67.

Peyton Manning and his superb quarterback play saved the franchise. It brought a Super Bowl trophy and a Super Bowl weekend to Indianapolis. It built a new stadium. It made the number “18” synonymous with superstar. And now, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that the era will end. Andrew Luck is coming. And Indianapolis isn’t big enough for two franchise quarterbacks.

The argument seems simple enough. Manning’s health and the strength of his regenerating arm is a huge question mark – almost as huge as the paycheck the Colts’ management would owe him if they keep him. Andrew Luck (aka the Colts’ Second Coming) is the surest thing since John Elway. Clearly, the future and the long-term win column seem to be pointing to a single conclusion: Draft Luck and let Manning ride off into the sunset.

But I think it’s time to dispel one of the newest myths of sports: “It’s all about winning.” I mean no offense to Vince Lombardi or his newest contemporaries who spend their afternoons throwing knives at Lebron James and Dan Marino, but this mantra is simply not true. Sports are not all about winning. Winning is not the only thing. If winning were all that mattered in the world of sports, steroids would not have left fans sick to their stomachs and tainted an era of baseball. If winning were all that mattered, Ted Williams would be a chump –another good hitter that never won the October classic. If winning were all that mattered, we wouldn’t celebrate the stories. But we do. The stories are what matter in sports because there is a human connection. When we lose that, we lose everything –even when we “win”.

The emotions that this image of Joe Namath produces are why this Manning situation goes beyond “winning”. It just doesn’t feel right. Teams will always win championships. Fans will always faithfully fill the seats. What is truly rare is finding a player that is not just a star and not just a champion, but a hero – the entire town, the entire franchise – the embodiment of the horseshoe. What is the price tag on that? How many wins is that worth?

It’s easy to be practical. Sometimes, it’s harder to do what is right. Without Peyton Manning, the Colts may have been a football franchise located in Los Angeles. With Peyton Manning, the Colts breathed new life into the city of Indianapolis, and more importantly, gave fans young and old a town hero.

Is it worth a good Luck charm to throw all of that away?

  • Digg this!
  • Share this on Reddit
  • Share this on Facebook
  • Tweet This!
  • Buzz up!
  • Stumble upon something good? Share it on StumbleUpon
  • Share this on Mixx
  • Share this on Linkedin
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Los Angeles Clippers will sign Paul Pierce

With Kevin Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Aldridge crosses Lakers off list, did not mesh well with Kobe

Jerry Dipoto officially steps down as Angels GM

Report: Rajon Rondo wants 'all of' Kings' $10M cap space


Reports: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson returning to Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Heat reportedly progressing in contract talks

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Brandon Spikes sentenced to one year probation in crash

Report: Leafs trade Kessel to Penguins in multi-player deal

David Ortiz vehemently denies that his bat speed is declining

Cavaliers re-sign Iman Shumpert to four-year contract

Mike Green is joining the Red Wings on a three-year deal

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans until 2020

ESPN denies censoring Keith Olbermann commentary

The best and worst MLB players in the month of June

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on Aldridge

Danny Green takes the Andre Iguodala path

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

Deciding what the All-Star Game really means

Being a Dallas Cowboys fan could cost Chris Christie votes

Winning and losing the strike zone game: Midseason update

Baltimore Orioles keep finding a way to win

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.