Thursday, March 08, 2012

Peyton Manning should go to the New York Jets -- no question about it


Waving goodbye and hello
As any football fan knows by now, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts ended their 14-year relationship when the team released him on Wednesday. Manning brought the Colts a Super Bowl and four NFL MVP awards but it's a tough business and the club's management felt it was time to say goodbye.

In fairness, Manning is about to turn 36, a pretty advanced age for a QB. He did miss the entire 2011 NFL season with a neck injury and, though doctors have apparently said he is okay to play, it's not at all clear that he would be the Peyton Manning of old. And, oh yeah, they would have had to pay him a $28 million bonus if they decided to keep him. And double oh yeah, the Colts were so bad last year that they are in line to get a first round draft pick that could land them Andrew Luck, reported to be one of the best quarterbacks ever to come out of college.

So, yes, it was time for Manning to go. And, as much as the Colts would probably love him to just retire so he would only have played for Indy in his entire career, which would in some sense be cleaner, he says he wants to continue in the league. Thus, we are about to begin what most observers call perhaps the biggest free agent sweepstakes in the history of the NFL.

Everyone is abuzz with talk of who needs him most and where he might want to go. Teams in need that come up in conversation are Washington, Tennessee, Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Cleveland, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Denver, San Francisco, even Houston.

But my personal favourite is the New York Jets. Whether or not the Jets are interested is another question, but here are my reasons he should want to go there and why the Jets should want him, in no particular order:
  • The Jets haven't been to the Super Bowl since Joe Namath and company won it for them in 1969. The Giants have been there five times and have won four. The Jets and the Giants have always hated each other. Jets coach Rex Ryan has been mouthing off over the past few years about who the best team in the city is. We know the answer to that question and the Jets would do almost anything to change it. Manning could bring them a Super Bowl. I also think Ryan would love the extra attention of having Peyton around.
  • Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been a disappointment and is not developing quickly enough. See point one.
  • Manning will be 36 soon and doesn't have that many good years left. He'll want to go to a team that is ready to win and the Jets are.
  • Brother Eli would be playing not only in the same town but in the same stadium. The brothers seem close and I suspect this would be considered a plus for both of them. Eli has said as much.
  • I think Peyton would like to go up against Tom Brady twice a year in the AFC East. Great rivalry. 
  • Here's the big one: Peyton Manning is a very bright, articulate guy who loves the camera, loves media attention and who will be around the game for a long time to come as a media personality and ambassador for the game once his playing days are over. My guess is he would love to end his career in the media centre of the world. It will enhance his profile even more, if that's possible, making him even bigger than he already is. For example, you'd probably see him and his little brother doing Saturday Night Live skits and whatever. Anyway, Peyton was made for New York and I just can't see him wanting to go to a secondary media market. And next to New York City, every place else is a secondary media market. 
  • A corollary to the last one is that with Eli's two Super Bowl rings and Peyton being Peyton, can you imagine what the Madison Avenue advertising execs could do with these guys if they played in the same town? They'd need their own Brinks truck just to transport their daily earnings.
Okay, it may not go that way for a bunch of reasons, but I think, if Peyton Manning really understood his own interests, it would go that way.

There. No one asked me, but that's my two cents.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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