Peyton Manning: A Team Player

KP Wee@kpwee1Senior Writer IDecember 27, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 27: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on against the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets handed the Colts their first loss of the season, 29-15. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts had a shot at history.

At 14-0, the Colts had a chance to match New England's 16-0 regular season from 2007, by winning their last two games.

But the Colts had already clinched home-field advantage throughout, and wanted to rest their key players.

So, on Sunday afternoon at home against the New York Jets, rookie head coach Jim Caldwell pulled quarterback Peyton Manning—along with several other starters—in the second half, with Indianapolis ahead 15-10.

The Jets rallied for a 29-15 upset victory, ending the Colts' 23-game regular-season winning streak.

The big play came in the third quarter, when Curtis Painter, Manning's replacement at QB, was hit while trying to throw from deep in his own territory, and lost the ball. The Jets' Marques Douglas fell on it and got into the end zone to put New York ahead for good.

Clearly, Manning, standing on the sidelines, was not happy. But afterwards, he supported his coach's decision to rest the starters.

“It was the plan, the organizational philosophy that we were going with,” Manning said, “and, as players, we support that” (AP, Dec. 27, 2009 ).

Again, the Colts were chasing history, so it must have been disappointing for Manning to be taken out.

At least he was a man about it.

He didn't argue with his coach on the sidelines.

Wasn't that what happened last Sunday night in Carolina, when Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre refused to be taken out?

Favre said afterwards: “(Coach) Brad (Childress) wanted to go in a different direction. And I wanted to stay in the game. It’s not 70-6, but we were up 7-6. I said I’m staying in the game. I’m playing…No way being up 7-6 and getting banged around a little bit would I consider coming out” (AP, Dec. 21, 2009).

So, when coach Childress considered pulling Favre, with his team ahead, his QB wouldn't let it happen.

No, the Colts don't have a shot at that perfect season anymore in 2009.

At least Peyton Manning should have respect from all the football fans out there.

He did as his coach said, didn't question the decision to pull him, and thought more about the team than himself.

And don't tell me the Colts had nothing to play for, while the Vikings—trying for the top seed in the NFC—did.

The fact is, the Colts had a chance to make history, something that had happened only once in the NFL (Sorry, '72 Dolphins; I'm talking about a 16-0 regular season).

Manning, however, is a team guy. He did what the coach said.

Good job, Peyton.

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