The catcalls have already started to flood in from angry fans.
After Peyton Manning's incredible performance against Pittsburgh, fans who feel betrayed by the Colts and by the local media have begun to voice their displeasure that Manning is playing in orange and not blue.
In the article of the day, Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star says Jim Irsay was right to release Manning because in three years Manning will retire and Andrew Luck will be hitting his prime.
The Colts made one of the only two choices they could when they parted ways with Manning. What they did was absolutely defensible at the time. They couldn't carry both quarterbacks, and they chose the younger, healthier option.
It's difficult to argue with that. On the other hand, it's equally difficult to defend that in light of his apparent good health and the return of his Hall-of-Fame form.
It was an impossible choice, and Irsay made a good call. But had they kept Manning and dealt the Luck pick, that could have worked out as well.
Criticizing Irsay for the decision he made doesn't make a lot sense. He had to do something.
Having said that, it's impossible to blame fans who felt a special bond with Manning for feeling betrayed. Many in Indianapolis feel the privilege of watching his final years was taken away from them, and they would gladly have traded 10 years of Luck for a few more with Manning. They tolerated it at the time because they were told Manning wasn't healthy.
Turns out he is.
While there's no possible way to settle the dispute now, the backlash Kravitz in particular is feeling from locals is due in part to his near-incessant criticism of the Colts during the entire Manning era. He now preaches patience for a new regime to whom fans feel no allegiance, but showed none toward Tony Dungy and Bill Polian.
The new Colts regime is on the clock. They will be given a pass in 2012 because of the state of the roster, but patience will run out if the team doesn't show real improvement and contend for the playoffs in 2013.
Every game Manning plays turns up the heat on the Colts in Indianapolis.
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