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Where Peyton Manning Needs to Go

My fiancée recently asked me where I would most like to see Peyton Manning play this year, since he won’t be with the Colts.  I actually didn’t have to think about it very long.  I want Peyton to go to the team that will give him the best shot of winning the Super Bowl in the next three years.  And I want this for a few reasons.

I would love for whatever team takes Peyton to win the big game and this by no mean diminishes my love for the Colts or my desire for them to do well and win more Super Bowls of their own.  But let’s be realistic.  I want the gamble on Andrew Luck to pan out magnificently.  I want all us to claim that Jim Irsay made a difficult but brilliant decision when releasing Peyton to bring in Luck.  But regardless of long-term success, I think it’s safe to say that Andrew Luck and the Colts will not be winning the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, nor probably in the 2013 season either.  It’s going to take some time.

That being said, I want Peyton Manning to firmly establish to the NFL, the world, and sports writers everywhere, that he is without a doubt, the best stand-alone football player to ever play the game.  As I’m sure you’re all aware, there has long been the debate about who is better, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  And after this season, ridiculous people now throw in the question if Peyton is even better than his brother Eli, who has two Super Bowl rings.

It will be weird seeing you in a different uniform though

To me, this is not debatable.  I have no love for Bill Belichick, but I have to admit that he is a good coach, or at least a very smart and strategic one.  So Brady has benefitted from one of the best coaching minds of this era AND his first Super Bowl will always have an asterisk because of the Spygate scandal.  Not to mention his running games and defenses have always been significantly better.  Need proof?  Brady goes out the first game of the 2009 season: the Patriots win 11 games with Matt Cassell.  Obviously Peyton Manning doesn’t play for the Colts in 2011 and they win just two games.

I don’t want to go into details of each specific team difference between Eli and Peyton’s championship teams, but let’s just remember that Peyton took the Colts to two Super Bowls and won one with a team that was consistently at the bottom of the NFL in defense, plagued by major injuries, and with a special teams that is the laughing stock of the NFL.

So I want Peyton to go to another team and win the big one, making him the only quarterback in the history of the game to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.  In two different systems Peyton could make a championship run and win.  It would give him multiple Lombardi trophies, silencing any remaining critics and placing him in the elite crowd of John Elway, Joe Montana, and Troy Aikman.  And in my mind, Peyton would be forever solidifying his place at the top of the list in the pantheon of football greats.

So where ever you go Mr. Manning, make sure they have a defense that isn’t horrible.  Make sure they have a good running back and a good running game.  And God bless you, try to find a team that will allow you to start your offensive drives from something better than the 16 yard line.  I know that 2012, I will be cheering for whatever team you choose.  If it helps, I would recommend Denver of San Francisco.  I would hate to have to cheer against you twice a year should you land in Nashville.  Godspeed and good luck Peyton Manning.  Certainly in Indianapolis, you will be missed.


UPDATE: As I was posting this, the news broke that Peyton Manning has officially signed with the Denver Broncos.  Excellent choice.  I just wish I had posted this entry a day or two ago.  Oh Well.  Need to start looking into plane tickets to Denver…

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