As the whole world anticipates the kickoff to Sunday's Super Bowl, I have to ask myself if my Indiana fishing buddies, the majority of them fans of the Indianapolis Colts, feel the same way. Super Sunday is the biggest gambling day of the year. The office pool, strip cards, and that phone call to the brother in law who "knows a guy" will give them reasons not to miss the game, but do they really want to watch? Do they really want to witness their ex quarterback, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer, show off his talents on what is arguably the biggest stage in the world? Their guy, the one who should be leading their Colts to their second World Championship, not the Denver Broncos. In March, 2012, the Indianapolis Colts, not feeling lucky, took a gamble and released Peyton Manning on speculation he would never play at a championship level ever again. Well, they lost.
It's kind of like a boat I owned. I bought it brand new and it was everything I hoped it to be. I caught my first Musky and my biggest Musky in that boat. It gave me many years of flawless service. The one problem I had with the boat is that it was great for day in and day out fishing , but it couldn't compete with the bigger boats, in the big tournaments. Sure, I won a few outings and even one big tourney with it but most of the time it came up short. Then one summer evening, after fishing all day, my luck ran out. I fired up the engine and went to shift it in reverse and got nothing. Put it back in forward and also nothing. A gear box full of neutral. After tearing it down, an inspection proved it needed a new output shaft and gears. The good news was the parts were still available, the bad news was the cost exceeded $1000.00. I opted to weld up the old parts and have them machined. I did a really good job and I with a little luck it would work just fine, but for how long? Long story short, I sold the boat at a discounted price, with full discloser of the "possible problems." I didn't want to let it go, but I did. I had mixed feelings about its future. I wanted the boat to go on and continue to service the new owner for years. On the other hand, since I let it go for next to nothing, a part of me wanted it to blow up on the first trip out. One thing is for sure, it will always have a place in my heart.
So, how do you guys/gals feel? Is there a place for Peyton in your heart? Do you want him to go out and win a tourney for his new owner or do you want to see him blow up? The competition will be tough and he may or may not win but I doubt he will implode. People say he has something to prove but I don't see it that way. I think he already has. The fact that in a time span of little over two and a half years he has rehabbed from not one but two neck surgeries and led a new team with a new offense to the Super Bowl is more impressive than anything any other athlete has ever done. To my Indiana friends, I leave you with my condolences. I hope you can remember the good times and let go of all the things you think you have lost. Who knows, on Sunday, maybe you'll have a little luck. Maybe you'll win a square or two, beat the bookie out of a few bucks, or have the winning number in the "How many times he yells Omaha" pool. Then, if the Broncos win and Manning is named MVP, at least the money might help to soften the blow. They say it's better to be lucky than good, and if I were you guys, I wouldn't worry, you have Luck on your side. At least for now, until he is eligible for free agency.
Signed, Class of '79 D.D. Eisenhower H.S. "Fighting Cardinals" official tackling dummy,Jim Welsh.