Peyton at his Wednesday afternoon press conference
With the decision of the Colts to release four-time MVP Peyton Manning, the inevitable question appears: where will he play next? Manning has been linked to a plethora of quarterback-troubled teams, including the Redskins, Jets and Dolphins, who have now emerged as the front runners to land him in free agency.
However, with the quality players, easy division and small market-similarity the Chiefs offer, Kansas City seems like the best choice for this superstar.
Kansas City, although often overlooked offensively, offer some very talented players for Peyton to work with. With studs like Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles and Le'ron McClain, and role players such as Steve Breaston, Tony Moeaki and Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs are able to boast an even better supporting cast than what Peyton had in Indianapolis.
And with Pro Bowlers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali on the defense as well, Kansas City's core of players blow away that of the Jets and Washington, and just about match the Dolphins', who are considered to be the favorites to land Manning. However, having good players doesn't necessarily mean you'll be successful, and that's where the Chiefs pull ahead.
At age 35, it is obvious that Manning wants to be on a team where he can win right away, and being in the weak AFC West gives him the best opportunity to do that. Playing on the Chiefs would guarantee six winnable games against the very mediocre Raiders, Chargers and Broncos.
However, playing on teams such as the Redskins, Seahawks, Jets or Dolphins would mean having to face elite teams such as the Giants, 49ers and Patriots twice a season, not to mention the up-and-coming Eagles. Most likely, Peyton does not want to face these teams, as well as star quarterbacks Tom Brady and his brother Eli so often, which makes the up-for-grabs AFC West very attractive.
Above all, Peyton needs to be happy, and Kansas City gives him the best opportunity to do that. Despite having a house in Miami, it seems that Kansas City, with its Indianapolis-like small market, would be the best fit for Peyton.
After 14 years in a Colts uniform, one would think that Peyton would want to play in a place just like Indy, and Kansas City, who are known for their similarly committed fans, seems like a much more appropriate culture for Manning rather than the famous glitz and glamour of New York and Miami. With his humble and slightly uptight approach, Manning isn't someone who loves being in the spotlight, making this Missouri city the perfect home.
In the end, Manning might not choose Kansas City. But with their unmissable offensive and defensive talent, mediocre division and devoted fans, they'll definitely be on Peyton's radar.
And not everyone can say that.