Peyton Manning Released by Colts: The Divorce Is Final

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 07:  Peyton Manning (L) and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay attend a press conference announcing that the Colts will release of Manning at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on March 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images)
Joey Foley/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay stated “It’s a difficult day of shared pain,” as he opened today’s televised press conference announcing that Peyton Manning was no longer a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

I must say I was not stunned to hear Peyton Manning would be released from the Colts, but it remains somewhat shocking.  It's a shame Manning was unceremoniously evicted from the Lucas Oil home he essentially built with his right arm.

I have never been a Peyton Manning fan—which is a totally subjective point and somewhat irrelevant—but from an objective standpoint I think wannabe maverick owner Jim Irsay botched the Manning fiasco to the hilt. 

I'm not old enough to remember an aging Johnny Unitas as a San Diego Charger in 1973 after a stellar career with the Baltimore Colts.  Even though Unitas tried to resurrect his greatness one more time as a Charger, he failed.  But no matter what, Unitas will forever be remembered as a Colt.

I vividly remember watching Joe Montana sign with my Kansas City Chiefs in 1993 and lead them to the AFC Championship Game.  Despite the flicker of greatness that remained in Montana’s ailing right arm during the time he was in Kansas City, he will forever be remembered as a San Francisco 49er.

Now there is Peyton Manning: The man who built the Indianapolis Colts into a winner is now kicked to the curb by the man who drafted him as the No. 1 overall selection in 1998.  No matter where he ends up Manning will he always be a Colt.

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Manning stated himself at the press conference that, “I will always be a Colt.”

As Manning fought back tears towards the end of his emotional speech he thanked his loyal fans. He said, “Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”

I know the NFL is a business.  But, it’s still hard to reconcile not giving someone like Manning the benefit of the doubt. I guess there are 28 million reasons why he didn't get it.

Apparently Manning’s humanitarian efforts around the city of Indianapolis did not matter at days end.  It didn’t matter Manning essentially built Lucas Oil Stadium and helped hand the city of Indianapolis a Super Bowl title.

At days end it did not matter Manning started 208 consecutive games over his 14-year career.  It didn’t matter that he set numerous records as arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever call a play in the NFL.

In societal marriages a lot of emphasis is placed on the getting married rather than working on how to stay together.  Slice the pie as you wish, but Manning was sent packing because the football marriage between Irsay and Manning soured over a tiff that could have been rectified. 

All of the years of service became a distant memory because of the hype around a quarterback (Andrew Luck) who is believed to be the next, well, Peyton Manning. 

This may sound like a stretch, but I place a fair amount of blame for this breakup on Mel Kiper Jr. Kiper Jr. has proclaimed Luck to be the best quarterback prospect since John Elway.  He has suggested Luck should win multiple Super Bowls and is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.


Kiper Jr. has thrown the same amount of touchdowns as you and I in the NFL.  He has been given a platform and anointed as the guru of evaluating collegiate talent. 

Based on what exactly?

Kiper Jr’s—for lack of a better term—expertise, tells the NFL world Luck is a gamer who is certain to succeed.

I’m sorry folks but I just don’t see it.  Based on what I see there is nothing Luck does better than Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.  RG3 had a better season than Luck and his career numbers surpasses Luck’s in virtually every statistical category. 

Anyway, based on the eye test I fail to see what the mistress has that the scorned Manning doesn’t. 

I know there is a question about Manning’s health, but so what?  I would rather ride with the quarterback I brought to the party 14 years ago over an unproven youngster who has turned some heads but achieved nothing of serious note on the football field.

If I were in charge I would find a way to have my cake and eat it to.

I would have restructured Manning’s contract and proceeded to draft either RG3 or Luck.  That way, a degree of loyalty is extended to Manning and the organization saves money.  But more importantly, the franchise gets a quarterback who will carry the torch into the future.

Doesn’t that make sense?

Oops, I’m sorry.  It’s not about making sense, it about power and control.

In my opinion Irsay is a media hungry dope.  He wants to be like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, but he is not.  Irsay wants to put the spotlight on himself rather than the players. 

Now Irsay has that spotlight, his new stadium and presumably his new signal caller in Andrew Luck.  He should be ready to contend for Super Bowls right?


Slice the pie as you wish but I believe in putting a team on the field that gives me the best chance to win football games every Sunday whether you are rebuilding or not.  I also believe in extending loyalty to those who have extended it to me.  Manning has given his all to the franchise only to be treated like a has-been diva that can no longer play.

I wholeheartedly understand a decision had to be made on Manning’s future.  Irsay feels he is doing the best thing for the franchise.  Sometimes in life the best thing to do is not always the right thing to do.

Hopefully Manning is able to play next year and plays well.  No matter where Manning plays one thing is certain.

Lucas Oil Stadium is still the house he built.

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