Peyton Manning Unfairly Remains Super Bowl XLVI's Biggest Headline

Brett LyonsContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27:  Peyton Manning and Curtis Painter #7 of the Indianapolis Colts sit on the bench in the final minute of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The colts lost 27-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The funny truth of this week’s Super Bowl 46 coverage is that the biggest headline has nothing to do with either the New York Giants or the New England Patriots.

Despite trying to keep the situation involving the Indianapolis Colts' 35-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning “hush hush,” the Colts and owner Jim Irsay are sure milking every second possible out of the national attention they have for the week.

Remember earlier this week when Irsay said he wasn’t going to address the issue? He was on NFL Network on Wednesday afternoon, and guess what he talked about? And Manning himself even talked with ESPN Tuesday about the situation. It doesn’t seem like the Colts are hell-bent on sweeping this conversation under the rug.

This is why the Manning talks are a big deal. After missing the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, Manning and the Colts need to figure out what 2012 and beyond holds in store.

The Colts have until March 8 to decide whether to keep Manning on the team and pay him a $28 million salary or release him and take Stanford QB Andrew Luck No. 1 overall and move on beyond Manning.

If Manning is waived by the Colts, the NFL would see a ridiculous bidding war amongst teams that need quarterback help. Such teams include Washington, Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City. But would Manning entertain the thought of even signing with any of those teams given their lack of weapons?

Are we at the end of the Colts-Manning era? Irsay hinted at his relationship with Peyton in the past tense when he talked Wednesday afternoon.


“We’ve had a great relationship,” Irsay said on NFL Network. “This situation is not as easy to talk about because no one knows what exactly is going to happen.

Irsay went on to further explain that the situation has nothing to do with money. This is about health and life after football.

Indianapolis will be struggling against the salary cap for the next three years if they bring back Manning—especially if he never sees the field or if he takes one rough hit and is forced to retire.

“I think it’s well documented how I feel,” Manning told ESPN on Tuesday. As far as when the right time and place to make the decision is, Manning said that “this just isn’t the week to do it.”

Eli Manning, Peyton’s younger brother, has been unfairly bombarded with hypothetical questions about his brother’s future this week. Aside from the fact that he’s going for a second Super Bowl ring, which would put him ahead of his brother, Eli is being asked what he knows.

Here’s the honest answer: no one knows anything.

We won’t know what Peyton can do until he gets on a field again and tries to throw. What if he can’t throw because his arm isn’t functional because of the nerve damage? How can this issue be settled in the here and now?

Poor Eli and poor Peyton. This week has absolutely nothing to do with either Peyton or the Colts. But because Super Bowl 46 will be hosted in the house that Peyton built, his shadow will overcast this entire week.

Note to Peyton: Make sure you watch the game on Sunday from a press box with tinted glass. He could see more airtime than his brother.


Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.  

Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.