Just Whose Side Are You On or Pey It Forward
To be completely honest, I started this feature a couple of months ago and shelved it until a little closer to “THE GAME.” And when I say game, you all know which game I’m referring to. The one when the schedule was announced we all looked at who was around us at the time and said “Wow!” Well, I really didn’t say wow, but there aren’t enough symbols on the keyboard to truly articulate what I said and make it the least bit intelligible. So I’ll stick with “Wow.”
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. After time passes, we reflect back upon what…Jesus, I sound like a freaking Hallmark card back there, my apologies. The point I guess I’m trying to make in my own convoluted way is that we can all look to our past and say: “Woulda, coulda, shoulda.” It might have involved a co-worker, friend, relative, neighbor, lover, pet or all the above. There is more than likely someone or something in all our pasts that we would like to go back to, revisit and do differently if we had the chance. At the forefront of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” discussion in the NFL is Mr. Peyton Manning, number 18.
When the Mayflower Vans pulled into Indianapolis we officially had a home team and come hell or high water I was going to support them. Granted there was a helluva lot of high water there in the beginning, but I stuck by the Horseshoe no matter how bad they sucked. And speaking of sucked, we enjoyed a 1-15 and several 3-13 seasons back in the day (as the kids would say). But again, I bled blue. And back then, I bled a lot.
Sure every season wasn’t Jaguarish in comparison. We had Captain Comeback and made it to the AFC playoffs in 1995. We would have had a Super Bowl that year if the Steelers hadn’t cheated and if any of the refs had taken the time to stop by Lenscrafters before the game, but that is neither here nor there. However our luck was due to change when we drafted a tall goofy looking kid out the University of Tennessee with the first pick of the NFL Draft.
Peyton Manning took the NFL by storm. Sure his rookie year out of the gate was 3-13, but the very next season we went 13-3 and earned a trip to the playoffs. Love him or hate him Peyton was a beast. He had that laser-rocket arm and the brain of a head coach to back it up. In his tenure here, the Colts went to the playoffs 11 times and went to the Super Bowl twice, winning once and then falling victim to Hank Baskett and his cat-like reflexes in the second.
Peyton was just as impressive off the field as on it. While in Indy, Peyton started the Peyback Foundation and lent his help to St. Vincent’s Hospital to get Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital off the ground. He was a regular boy scout with an unlimited checkbook. Everything he did seemed to turn out great, all except for his horrible, and thankfully quickly forgotten, country album from 2001 “18 Wheels to Your Heart.”
In 2012 Mr. Irsay had to make one of the toughest decisions of his entire life. Where should he put John Lennon’s wire rimmed Beatle glasses? Should he put them in a frame with John’s hand written lyrics for Revolution or hang them by one of John’s guitars in his collection? I didn’t envy him of that decision. And if that wasn’t hard enough, he had to make the decision as to whether to cut his franchise quarterback or drive to Fort Knox to make a down payment on Peyton’s new contract. In the end we waved good-bye to number 18.
As we all know, Peyton went on to Denver and is enjoying renewed success after his two surgeries. He seems to be the player of old and I couldn’t be happier for him. That being said, he is a Bronco now and as we know Broncos are the inherently evil, mentally challenged, candy stealing, puppy smacking, kitten kicking cousins of the Colts.
Sunday Night Football in Indianapolis is going to be insane. As of the revision of this, the Broncos are 5-0 and the Colts are 4-1, both leading their respective divisions. This game is going to be one for the ages. And so it brings me to the discussion we’ve been having about Peyton’s return. If you are going to the game, how are you going to treat Peyton during his return?
When the Broncos enter Lucas Oil Stadium I fully intend to give them the full ration of $#!t I give every opposing team upon entering our house. And of course you know they are going to introduce the offense that night to try and stir up the pot. I’m really not looking forward to all of the orange 18 jerseys that are going to flood the Luke that night, but when they do announce number 18 Peyton Manning I will cheer as loud as I always had when he took the field. During the inevitable half time tribute extravaganza I’ll cheer for him as well. What he did for this team and this town can’t ever truly be measured and I will always be thankful for that. But when that coin is flipped, game on *****es! From that point on he is just another opposing team’s quarterback. As soon as he steps behind center he is going to be greeted by the loudest stadium in the NFL! What a beautiful contrast to his days when he ran our offense and you could hear a pin drop all the way across the stadium! I hope the crowd is loud and proud and doesn’t let up for 60 full minutes of football. I hope Robert Mathis takes full advantage of his first opportunity to lay the wood to Peyton too. That jersey is orange Robert, not red, go to work. We all know from past experience that running is NOT one of Peyton’s strong points, hehehe.
My point is that I was a Colts fan long before Peyton was here. With God’s blessing hopefully I’m a Colts fan for several more decades to come. Peyton is no longer a Colt. If you are a Peyton fan good for you, go to Denver or sit at home and watch him on Direct TV. We all have that relationship from our past that we’d like to have back, but if you got it back, things would just get complicated and weird. Not the sex mind you, weird sex is ok, just the situation. I’m mean you’d both have to “arrange” unfortunate accidents for your respective spouses, prepare and execute iron-clad alibis and then you’d have to explain to your respective kids why the new kids were moving into the house and to just why Mommy 2 was driving Mommy 1’s BMW. Then your friends and neighbors would start talking behind your back and that inconspicuous unmarked police car would be parked at the end of your street again for God knows how long, ugh. And who needs all that?
So sayeth the Meanie
p.s. Loved “Football on your Phone.” It’s nice to know Eli has another career option to fall back on since his football career is over.