The Plague Is Out of Control, With No Cure in Sight

Mike MillerCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Tracy Porter #22 of the New Orleans Saints returns a interception for touchdown against of the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

     There's 2:24 left in the Super Bowl and the Colts are down by seven and driving.  They're faced with a third and five.  Manning drops back and throws an ill-advised inaccurate pass to a NOT-AT-ALL-OPEN Reggie Wayne (while Austin Collie was almost so open over the middle that he could have used a pair of binoculars to spot the nearest Saint DB).  Tracy Porter for the Saints picks it off and goes 74 yards to the house.  Saints 31, Colts 17.  And as the freaky puppet says in the Saw movies... GAME OVER.

     The next day I hear that Steve Young said that the interception was Reggie Wayne's fault.  That he needed to come back to the ball.  I then hear that Cris Carter also said that.  Then I hear Todd Fisher (local Canton, Ohio radio personality) say that he "ran a poor route" and that he "rounded it off".  On Fox Sports Radio, Stephen A. Smith said it was pretty much all Reggie Wayne's fault. 

     Even when Manning screws up in front of  106 million viewers, people deny it happened and push the blame elsewhere.  These are people that get paid, in some cases alot, to cover the game.  To talk about it.  That's their "job."  And they don't have a clue as to what they're saying or why they're saying it. 

     I watched the play probably 15 times on Youtube.  Wayne ran straight out for 5-7 yards and turned around.  What did he "round off"?  Manning stared him down the whole time, and threw it even though Wayne was never really open at all.  He never saw Collie.  By the time Wayne turned around, the ball was atleast half way there, coming like a missile right at Porter's numbers as if HE was the intended receiver.  Also, the ball was thrown too far to the inside.  Wayne never had a chance to come back to the ball.  He never had a chance to catch it or break it up for that matter.  The replay shows all this as clear as the day is long.

     So what are these people talking about?  Did they even watch the game?  Do these people just say whatever comes to mind just to hear themselves talk? 

     I suppose there's a chance that Wayne's route called for him to turn to the inside, but I highly doubt it.  The Colts run this play all the time.  Porter said that, and the Colts did too.  I'm sure Wayne knows what route to run.  That has to be a safe assumption.  Besides that, there is nothing to indicate, from film or otherwise, that he didn't do exactly what he was supposed to do.

     Of course I have heard other people say that Manning never should have thrown the pass and that it was a poor decision.  These people are not inflicted by the Plague.  I have one message to the people that are...

     Peyton Manning is not perfect.  He is indeed human.  He also is not the best QB to ever play.  Certainly he's up there.  No question.  But he screwed up on the biggest stage.  In the biggest game.  Where legends are made.  He CAN bounce back from this.  He may or may not.  But this is big folks.  The greatest to play the position do not make these mistakes in title games.  Not in that situation.  Brees played like a champ.  He was SUPER.  Manning didn't and wasn't.

     Marino never won a Super Bowl.  He was in only one, in his rookie year.  And his fish were trampled by the Niners.  He didn't throw a pick late in the fourth quarter to end his team's chances.  And it's not entirely his fault, of course, that he never got back to the big game. 

     John Elway lost his first three Super Bowls.  Tarkenton lost all three of his.  Favre lost one.  Jim Kelly lost four.  But none of them lost in Manning fashion like that which we saw Sunday.

     Manning could win three or four more Super Bowls before it's said and done.  Maybe he never wins another.  But wow did he screw this one up!  He didn't lose the game all by himself.  Anyone that says that is a fool.  But he made a colossal mistake that his team couldn't recover from.  And what bothers me is that he never has owned up to it.  Instead he praised Porter for making a great play.

     Reggie Wayne did not blow it.  This one's all on Peyton.  The media's golden boy.  But hey... he'll probably win another MVP next year.  It seems he's a lock for that (and every other award) every year no matter what the other QB's do.  So he's got that going for him.

     And believe it or not, I actually like Peyton Manning.  I really do.  What's not to like?  I've listened to him in interviews.  He's not cocky.  He's not an idiot.  He says intelligent things and he's generally a really good guy from what I can tell.  And I love his commercials.  It's the people inflicted by the Plague that I'm sick of.               

    Shake out of it people.  He's not God, and he's not perfect.  He screwed up.  So quit pointing fingers at Reggie Wayne.  And go see a doctor while you're at it.