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Indianapolis Colts: Was Saturday's Game Peyton Manning's Final One As a Colt?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during warm ups against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Josh McCainSenior Writer IJanuary 11, 2011

Since last year's Super Bowl, Peyton Manning has been on quite the roller coaster ride.

He's had highs, like trouncing his brother's team on Sunday Night Football and lows like losses in Houston and Jacksonville. 

The car finally came into the station after Nick Folk drilled a game winning field goal ending the Colts season.

This season, Peyton on the field has not look like himself at all. Before the final four games (all of which the Colts won), he had a terrible stretch that was capped off with throwing 11 interceptions, along with question on whether or not the Colts would even make the playoffs.

The poor play of the Colts, along with some weird coaching decisions by head coach Jim Caldwell, have seem to make way to a different Peyton off the field.

Of course, we can't expect any competitor to be jovial after a loss but Peyton was always composed. He never did lose his cool this season, but there were times where he was short with his answers to the media.

And this different persona of Manning was capped off when Jim Caldwell used his last timeout during the New York Jets game winning drive.

The cameras where right there to catch Peyton's reaction and it wasn't one of a player who was confident in his coach.

To me, it looked as if Peyton was going back to the dreadful use of timeouts during the game in Jacksonville.

He would never say this publicly, but I don't think Peyton believes Caldwell is the type of coach who can win this team another Super Bowl.

I suspect this is going to be a very interesting offseason for the Colts.

One in which they have yet to re-sign their franchise quarterback.

Going into this season, everyone suspected that both Peyton and Tom Brady (who entered this season on the last year of their contracts) wouldn't get their extensions signed right away.

This was due to no new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and is was suspected that both the Colts and Patriots were seeing what the other would do so they wouldn't overspend in the franchise quarterback market.

Well, the Patriots struck first and signed Brady. When that was done everyone expected that Manning wouldn't be to far behind.

Well, nothing has been signed as of yet—heck, Washington even signed Donovan McNabb to an extension this season.

So why hasn't Peyton signed? Which side is holding it up?

I'd have to believe the biggest reservations are with team Manning.

After all, we all saw what Curtis Painter can do, and if I'm the Colts, I'm throwing all the money in the world at Peyton just so I don't have to see Painter on the field ever again.

So what could be holding Peyton up?

He's the type of guy I would suspect who'd want to end his career with the team he started with, and where this is a business and money is important, I don't see Peyton wanting so much money that it cripples his team from re-signing other members as well as signing other free agents.

Honestly, and this is my opinion based on what I've seen of the Colts this season, I think he wants a new head coach.

As I stated above, I don't think Peyton believes in Caldwell as a head coach. And much like John Elway got Dan Reeves out of Denver, I think Manning is trying to do the same in Indianapolis.

Elway wanted Mike Shanahan, and I would suspect that Peyton wants Tony Dungy back, but I don't think Dungy is coming back.

I honestly don't know who Peyton would prefer to coach him, but it wouldn't surprise me if Jon Gruden wasn't one of those who'd he'd like.

After all, the last time Gruden took over a team with Dungy's finger prints all over it, he won a Super Bowl.

So could Peyton's biggest demand be a new man to wear the headset in Indy?

Like I said, pure speculation on my part, but if the Colts did decide to fire Caldwell, I don't think the Manning family is going to mind at all.


For more NFL speculation and other ramblings, follow me on Twitter (@jomac006).

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