It's no surprise that we are talking about Broncos and Seahawks at the Super Bowl. The hope is that we won't have to discuss our disappointment with any zebras. There could be a discussion about goats, or depending on which team wins, the GOAT.
But ducks? Did anyone think we would be talking about ducks?
Probably not, but thanks to Richard Sherman, we are talking about just that. See, about a month ago, Sherman wrote in an MMQB article that he thought Manning threw ducks, and it became a topic of conversation during the media sessions on Thursday.
Not surprisingly, the comments blew up on the Internet and were soon blown out of proportion because, you know, the Internet. But Sherman's original comments were far more effusive in their praise of Manning than they were critical.
Here is the excerpt cited this week:
When we played Peyton in the preseason, I found a new appreciation for the way he makes adjustments at the line of scrimmage; he controls the protections, and if he sees the blitz coming he slides it. The thing that sets him apart is that he’ll change it to a run play if you don’t have enough players in the box, and they’ll get five or six yards because you’re not ready for it. Nobody else has both the authority to do that within their offense and the understanding to know when it’s appropriate.
His arm, however, is another story. His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.
To refresh: Manning is an incredible quarterback and sharp mind who Sherman has great respect for, but accurately observes doesn't have the best arm strength. You know what, let's all just focus entirely on that last part, shall we? That's what we do, right?
I still feel the same way I felt. He's a great quarterback. He does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it—he delivers it on time and accurately.
Not surprisingly, Manning's response to Sherman's comments was humorous.
Manning isn't dumb. He knows his arm strength isn't top notch. His passes sometimes lack zip. He often has touch on his throws even when he's not intending to throw them with any. And, to be fair, most quarterbacks throw a few ducks now and again.
But Sherman, Manning and everyone else also knows that Manning's ducks still get the job done. It's pretty hard to dispute that fact after 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 passing yards. And it makes the entire buzz surrounding Sherman's comments a bit ridiculous.
Plus, there is an entire element to this we weren't considering, as DJ Gallo of SportsPickle notes:
What Peyton Manning throwing ducks says about our mistreatment of animals and factory farming. #thinkpiece— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) January 30, 2014
Those poor, poor ducks. But outside of the obvious joke, the deeper layer of humor in Gallo's crack is that we'll take anything said, put our own spin on it and find a way to blow it of proportion.
Peyton's "ducks" are no exception.