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The Beginning of the Beginning of the End Narratives

Peyton_Manning_(cropped)I will be the first to admit I was never a big Peyton Manning fan. Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of my friends in college thought him to be the second coming. Maybe it’s because I watched him decimate Kentucky and every other SEC team not named Florida when he was in school at Tennessee. Maybe it’s because I just liked to be contrarian and was a tepid Colts fan at best. The reasons for my lack of Manning brainwashing like so many of my central Indiana peers is quite inconsequential. What is important is that since he’s left Indy and found his  new home in Denver, I actually kind of like him.

It could be the comeback story of being shown the exit with an aging body, an injured neck, and a giant salary by Jim Irsay. It could be the personality he is finally showing through commercials and guest spots that never really showed when he was younger, favoring instead to come across as a football robot incapable of human emotions and winning the big game. Again, the why doesn’t really matter. What does is that the ability to like or dislike Manning or to critique his performance in pressure situations is waning, if it isn’t already gone.

It’s a shame any time a legend decides to hang it up. Usually, they stick around too long and the lasting memories of their final performance is a vivid reminder that time and decreased performance is coming for us all, even the greatest around. I can only hope that when Peyton decides to say, “I’m done” he does so permanently and firmly. More Elway, less Favre. That’s what he deserves, we deserve, the NFL deserves.

NFL Quick Hits
* Whether Peyton decides to hang it up or not, I’m already sick of the Rick Reilly’s of the world with their passing of the torch column they all had ready to go in the event that Andrew Luck and the Colts beat the Broncos on Sunday. Last I checked one game did not a legacy make or end. Luck may be the next big thing and sure-fire Hall of Famer, but he has an awfully long way to go before he’s even in Peyton Manning’s stratosphere, much less surpassing it.

* There is a fantastic piece on Grantland about Rex Ryan, new coach of the Buffalo Bills, former coach of the New York Jets, forever king of my heart. Foot-porn aside, is there a more entertaining coach than Rex? I’m sure if I were a hardcore NFL fan I would have a much different reaction to Rex and my desire for him to coach my team would be much less, but as a fringe Bears fan, I cannot tell you how sad I was to not see Rex go to Chicago. At least that would have been good drama instead of the clusterf**k the last year was. Thanks, Jay Cutler!

* We’re down to the Final 4 in the NFL (Packers, Seahawks, Colts, Pats) and it’s a weekend chock full of good versus evil. You’ve got Rodgers’ bum leg against the mouthy Seahawk defense. You’ve got Andrew Luck’s War of Northern Aggression facial hair situation against Tom Brady and the Hoodie. Awful picks from me? NE (-7) and GB (+7). If you’re going to bet, promptly bet against those. Once we get our Super Bowl teams set, Jason and I will be along with all your Super Bowl betting needs as well.

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