Monday, January 12, 2015

What Should Peyton Manning Do Now?

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

There will obviously be much discussion today about the future of Peyton Manning, following his lackluster performance in Denver's Divisional Round loss to Indianapolis.

It was also revealed today by ESPN's Adam Schefter that Manning had played the final month of the season with a torn quad, which makes sense to anybody who watched the Broncos, because Manning just did not look right at all down the stretch.

At the age of 38, and coming off a major injury and playoff disappointment, I don't have a clue what Peyton Manning will do, but I have some ideas about what he should do.

It would be somewhat fitting for Manning's final game to come against his old team, and in a "passing of the torch" game, no less, but there's also the possibility the old man comes back for one more shot at a title with the Broncos next season.

Those seem to be the two most likely options, but I'm here to tell you that, if Peyton wants to win another championship (basically the only reason he's still playing), he needs to borrow the strategies of another aging legendary quarterback, and those of a transcendent NBA superstar.

Obviously, I'm talking about Brett Favre and LeBron James.

If Manning comes back, Denver probably won't be his best chance to win a Super Bowl. Coach John Fox could be on the way out (though reports have been fuzzy on whether he would be fired or resign), and offensive coordinator Adam Gase is likely to land a head coaching gig elsewhere.

Even defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is likely to move on, and with Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas, Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas, star defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and powerful guard Orlando Franklin all set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, Denver's roster could look drastically different next year.

Would starting over with a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, new No. 1 receiver, new tight end and largely new defense really represent any "continuity" for Manning? Of course not, that's why it's time for him to Favre his way out of town.

"After discussion with my family and doctors, I have decided to retire from the game of football," a glass-eyed Manning will say at a press conference in Denver. "I thank John Elway and the rest of the Broncos organization for this great opportunity, and my only regret is not bringing a Super Bowl to Denver. Unfortunately, it is time for me to walk away from the game I love."

And nobody would think anything of it. I mean, this is Peyton Manning, a man of his word and trusted pizza advertiser, nothing like that jerk Brett Fa… Wait a minute, why is Peyton in Buffalo?!

That's right, on the first day of training camp, Peyton Manning is in Buffalo signing a one-year contract, just days after the Broncos cut him from their reserved/retired list to save some cash.

Now it all makes sense! That's why the Bills cleared cap space by cutting a number of young promising offensive players, most notably the oft-injured C.J. Spiller's inflated deal, to make room for free agent receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas.

I was wondering how new coach Rex Ryan was going to make this all work without a quarterback. Well, I guess he did get the Jets to the AFC Championship Game with Mark Sanchez...

With the retirement of Kyle Orton and Buffalo's offseason roster purge, the Bills manage to keep their stellar defense (No. 4 in the NFL in 2014, and they get injured linebacker Kiko Alonso back) intact, while adding a pair of high-priced weapons on offense to complement Sammy Watkins and a ground game led by a (hopefully) healthy Fred Jackson.

That Bills team was being discussed as a sleeper before Manning Favred the Broncos and showed up in Buffalo, but with a seemingly healthy Peyton under center, the Bills quickly become a contender in the AFC and a legitimate threat to New England's reign of terror in the AFC East.

Would Peyton be able to win a Super Bowl in Buffalo if he goes LeBron and brings his Super Friends with him? Maybe, maybe not, but it sure would be a lot of fun.

Oh, who am I kidding, he's just going to come back for another year with a lesser Denver team and it's going to be boring and sad.

1 comment :

hi said...

Gah I know we live in the era of seasonal rot where organizations conspire to beat dead horses until they've surrendered every last ounce of anything worthwhile - but please, Peyton, just retire.

Yes, you may spend the rest of your life wondering, but that's life, and you'll be protecting a real legacy without chancing new fans ever remembering you as over-the-hill.