Obviously, I don’t know if Peyton Manning is going to return to quarterback the Denver Broncos in the 2015 season. I know that I want him to do so. Manning spoke a bit on the subject this week and his comments were not dissimilar from what he’s said in the past: if he’s healthy and can contribute, he will come back. He doesn’t simply want to take up a roster spot. He wants to help him team win. It’s what he’s always done as a player and he won’t come back unless the team wants him back and unless he feels physically capable.
It is easy for me to believe that the quarterback of the first ten games of this year was affected significantly by injury that influenced his performance in the last seven. It is hard for me to believe that the quarterback of the first ten games of the year suddenly hit an insurmountable wall of age that made him too old to play the game anymore less than a year removed from the greatest statistical season any quarterback has ever had.
If he cannot rehab (and there’s no reason to believe he cannot), that’s understandable. That he’s just too old, is not. People can put that narrative where the sun don’t shine.
The NFL needs more players like Peyton Manning, especially in this worst year of public relations in NFL history. We’ve received lovely bookends to the season, haven’t we? Domestic violence through to cheating in games have done much to tarnish the reputation of the league. It will survive. Cry no tears for the NFL.
I want Manning back because of who he is on the football field, to be sure, but I also want him back because of who he is as a man and this may be more important to me than him as a player in all honesty.
I want Manning back because I cannot imagine him being implicated in a “deflate-gate” scandal, a spy-gate scandal, a domestic violence scandal or any other scandal for that matter.
I want Manning back because he replies to wedding invitations, he searches for and connects with fans from near-and-far, because he gives back to communities that give to him, because he pokes fun at himself and because he wins awards that mean more than football. All of these stories are true. Click them to remind yourself what Manning does beyond the football field. I want Manning back.
I want him back because he’s the Manning.
The 2014 season unofficially concludes with this year’s Super Bowl this afternoon. It officially ends at the end of this month.
There are worse things than NFL fans spending the 2015 season watching Peyton Manning play his last games and make his last throws. There are worse things than Denver Bronco fans seeing 18 on the field for 20 plus more games.
What is worse, is an NFL without Peyton Manning.