LeBron James sat in front of millions and told them that he was "taking his talents to South Beach" in an ESPN telecast. What if Peyton Manning decided to bolt Indianapolis as a free agent?
When LeBron made "the decision" he faced many uncertainties if he stayed with Cleveland. The team hadn't won a championship, and he was not feeling confident they could win with the team they had assembled.
LeBron felt that if he wanted to win multiple championships in the future he would not be able to do it with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Peyton Manning being 35 years old next season, how does he feel about this Colts team?
First, we must look at the situation at hand. The Colts just lost a home wild-card playoff game on the final play of the game—a Nick Folk 32-yard field goal. The team battled injuries like no other all season. They had 10 defensive backs alone that were on injured reserve.
The multiple concussions of Austin Collie, and season-ending injuries to Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, Blair White and Donald Brown also hurt the offense. Not having Joseph Addai and Gary Bracket for multiple games was also a handicap.
Looking at the free agents on this team going into next season, there will be questions. If Bill Polian does in fact make Peyton the highest paid player in the game (which he has said repeatedly that he will), then it could be tough to sign all of the other key free agents.
Guys like Joseph Addai, Melvin Bullit, Adam Vinateri and Charlie Johnson could be harder to sign. Don't look for the Colts to go after Namdi Asomuguah.
This team has already forgotten about Bob Sanders, but both Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis want new deals this offseason as well. They both still have a year remaining on their deals, but the Colts can not afford to have either of them sit out or be disgruntled.
With all of these personnel decisions to be made, Peyton needs to look at the situation and decide what is best. I don't think anyone expects him to leave, but if he did go somewhere else, can you imagine the uproar this would cause? The city would be crushed, and the fairweather Colts fans would almost certainly cut ties with the team.
Even if he did decide to leave, where would he consider going? The money will be high wherever he goes, but we all know he wants to win. So what teams will have a better chance than the Colts at winning a Super Bowl for the next handful of years?
Don't look for a team from the AFC South. You probably won't find him in the AFC West (sorry Chiefs) either. The Ravens and Steelers won't have room for him in the AFC North come playoff time, and I doubt we see him in the same division as Tom Brady.
Sure Rex would shove Sanchez to the bench in order to get Peyton, but he won't make New York the Manning capital of the world. The Dolphins and Bills are also out of the question.
So really no chance of an AFC team landing him, what about the NFC? He obviously stands a better chance to get to the big game in the NFC, where he won't have to travel to New England, Pittsburgh or Baltimore for a playoff game.
He would poke his own eyes out with a fork before he went to the NFC West. The Redskins are looking hard for a QB, but I don't think Peyton would be interested. All of the other NFC East teams are probably out of the question.
The NFC North is interesting. Cutler is in Chicago, but I'm sure the fans there would be more than willing to sit him down for Manning. Nobody wants to go to the Lions....ever. The Packers have their guy, so don't ask. The Vikings are desperate for a QB, and they could have a new dome coming their way. Manning and Peterson in the backfield...that would be scary.
The NFC South is also interesting because of one team—the Bucs. The Saints and Falcons are set with Brees and Ryan, and the Panthers are the worst team in the league. That would be like LeBron leaving the Cavs and taking his talents to the Bobcats.
So, with the Bucs, you have one of the youngest teams in the league with some proven talent. A good defense with some weapons on offense too. The only problem is the competition. The Bucs won 10 games this year, yet still missed the playoffs because the Saints and Falcons were in. Doesn't look like he is heading to Florida.
So that really leaves the Vikings as the only legitimate option out there for Peyton. If the defense could return to last year's defense, I am sure it would be something to consider, especially with Peterson and the receivers on offense, but ultimately he will stay in Indianapolis of course.
Which would be the bigger story, LeBron leaving the Cavs, or Peyton leaving the Colts? I think Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon would probably end up killing each other after a month-long debate on "PTI" with that one.
The fact is, we all know Peyton will stay, and much like Reggie Miller, will spend his entire career here in the great state of Indiana. There are so many reasons why he won't leave, such as the system that he is in, the offense, the coaching staff, the players, the stadium and just for the simple fact that he will not want to pack his things and move somewhere else.
Could you also imagine the hatred he would receive from Colts fans? The burning of jerseys and mobs in Cleveland should be a sign that people won't be able to "just move on" from it.
It would be an interesting situation and of equal proportion to "The Decision" by LeBron, but the fact is that Polian is about to make Peyton a Colt for life, and fans should be getting over this playoff loss very quickly.
We need to be thankful and appreciative of what we have here. Just look at Curtis Painter on the sidelines, and count your blessings.