Manning, Irsay both looking pretty smart

October 29, 2012
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Is it possible that Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning were both right after last season?

I think it is. And I think that’s what created such a difficult decision for the Indianapolis Colts owner when he decided to let his star quarterback leave for Denver.

Irsay insisted it was time to move on. The Colts drafted quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 out of Stanford and handed him the reins to the team.

Meanwhile Manning insisted he had more in the tank. He signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Broncos. There were many who doubted No. 18 had anything more than fumes and a fading hope of winning another Super Bowl. But after the last couple weeks, most would agree Manning is looking a lot like his old self.

Whether you’re a fan of the Colts, Manning or both, it appears there’s lots to smile about these days. Yes, more than a few Colts fans are still miffed by Irsay’s off-season treatment of Manning.

But I hear a lot less now than I did six weeks ago from Colts season ticket holders and other team followers who say they are considering turning their backs on Irsay and his rebuilding plan.

I also hear a lot less noise locally from football fans who say they will follow the Manning-led Broncos rather than their hometown team. While interest in Manning is still intense here, it appears to be less intense than the Colts following.

TV ratings for Colts games this season have consistently been higher than those for Broncos games. On Sunday, the Colts scored a 30.6 rating (328,032 central Indiana households) with 51 percent of people watching TV at the time tuning into the Colts game, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research.

The Broncos-Saints game playing in prime-time on Sunday night tallied a 20.3 rating in this market (217,616 households), with 30 percent of people watching TV at the time tuning in.
 
The Colts and Broncos are both sitting at 4-3 and both still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Both teams have soft divisions and QBs that can deliver under pressure.

National football pundits surmised after Sunday’s games that the Broncos are one of the best teams in the AFC and the Colts are one of the most surprising.

Should Irsay have done everything he could to help Manning finish his career where he started? Could the Colts be even better with Manning this year than Luck? Those questions are certainly debatable.

But is the current scenario proving to be better for both the Colts and Manning? That argument—like Manning and Luck—is gaining steam.

Does all of this diminish the pain for locals as they watch No. 18 lead the Broncos? Certainly at least a little.

Is it going to be a mix of joy and pain if Manning accomplishes the improbable and climbs the Super Bowl mountain one more time? You bet.

Will Luck erase any of that pain?

Time will tell. But long-term, it looks like a good bet right now.

 

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  • There is a time in any relationship when you have to say goodbye. Typically one or both sides are not ready for it, but it has to happen. This is one of those rare cases where it happened about right. Many times we see athletes go through messy breakups with their teams and the awkwardness of seeing them with a new team. Be it Farve with his stints with Jets and Vikings, Montana with the Chiefs, or Unitas and his painful year with the Chargers or that player you could not get to leave. This worked out well for all. If Manning was still starting for the Colts, he would be hard pressed to be still healthy with the porosity of our offensive line making Luck scramble which Manning could not do well on his best days. This is a rare example of both sides in a relationship ending up better off. Although it is still painful to think of Peyton with another team, we all should want what is best for him. Good luck Peyton. Win another Superbowl or 2 and we will see you in Canton.
  • good deal
    yes it was hard for anyone to see Peyton go to another team. However if he had stayed would they have still gotten rid of some of the other folks who had been here a long time as well? Unfortunately for what these players are getting paid (and Peyton is up at the top) in my opinion the Colts couldn't afford to keep or get the people around him that he needed to not get mangled on a weekly basis. As someone else said it worked out best for both as painful as it seems now.
  • MANNING FEVER
    My #18 Broncos Jersey just came in the mail this week! I will be wearing my blue and orange to support the best QB in the NFL. Sorry Luck, no comparison
  • Fans look Dumb
    Of course Irsay and Manning look smart....when you put them up against the moronic, whiny, bandwagon fans in Indy. How many fans on twitter, this site, Facebook, and other forums were going off on Irsay when he wanted to trade Manning. It didn't take a genius to see how Luck was the future and keeping both wouldn't work. Manning has a couple good years left. Not trading him would've set the franchise back several years. Look at teams that have been searching for franchise qb's for decades. Luck lands in Colts fans lap and they are too dumb to realize how fortunate they were. It was the right move, the easy move, and the only people that couldn't see the forest from the trees were Indy fans out shopping for Denver jerseys. Now they are all yucking it up pretending they were fans of Luck all along.
  • Colts & No. 18 both win
    Last season proved that the Colts had become old and injury-prone and needed to be rebuilt, and in considering Manning's advanced age and neck problems, and with the No. 1 pick in the draft in his pocket, Irsay and the Colts did the smart thing to begin rebuilding the franchise. From Manning's point of view, why would he want to spend his last three seasons or so on a team that needed to be totally rebuilt when he's desperate to win Super Bowls? As we've seen, going to Denver was his best option at the time, and it's proven to work very well for him. The best deals happen when both sides have a positive result, and thus far I think we've seen that.
  • Steve
    Like many Colts fans, I now root for both Peyton and the Broncos as well as Luck and the Colts. If they ever play each other, it will be a no-lose scenario! I miss Peyton tremendously, but am really happy he is doing so well. I would be ecstatic if he won the Super Bowl again. At the same time, I am very impressed with Andrew Luck. He has great abilities and exceptional spirit. Can't count how often I've seen him complete a pass with a defender hanging on his arm!

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