Peyton Manning will return to Indianapolis on Sunday night wearing a different uniform than the Colts blue he had worn for fourteen seasons. His return will not only be welcomed, but it will be celebrated with a pregame tribute planned by Colts owner Jim Irsay. Is this hero’s welcome a good thing for the Colts to do?
The split between the Colts and Peyton Manning was obviously an amicable one, the quarterback was coming off of his 147th neck surgery or so and the Colts staring at an opportunity to draft either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the upcoming draft after having just tanked the previous season. In an interview Irsay gave to USA Today Sports he says that it was all Peyton’s idea for the team to draft Luck.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to take Andrew. You have to. You’re crazy if you don’t.’” – Jim Irsay
Irsay also went on to detail in the interview how the situation of keeping Manning and drafting Luck wouldn’t have ever worked out because of the salary cap restraints. He insists the team was looking to build for more Super Bowls instead of rewarding the individual accomplishments of Manning. He might have taken a shot at Manning’s inability to turn his spectacular regular-season success into Super Bowl berths or victories when he pointed out how many teams have multiple Super Bowl victories in the last fourteen years since Manning was drafted there and the Colts still only had one. Nevertheless it is Irsay himself that is spearheading the celebrations planned for the return of Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night.
Is it the best idea to host a welcoming party for a quarterback who can potentially light up your scoreboard for 50 points immediately following the party? I don’t think so. I think it’s a bit over the top to do anything but allow the fans to applaud and maybe give Manning a standing ovation during his introduction. Anything more than that is just frivolous and unnecessary. This isn’t a retirement ceremony, he’s there to play your team and beat them to a pulp if he can. Remember, this is the regular season, you don’t stand a chance of beating Peyton Manning in the regular season.
Sure the Philadelphia Eagles gave former Head Coach Andy Reid a welcoming home party when he returned as coach of the Chiefs for the Thursday night game earlier this season. Reid then went on to lead the Chiefs to a 26-16 victory over his former team. Is a celebration that necessary that you have to praise the guy that can potentially put your team on a 2-game skid? Peyton and the Broncos are also one of the teams potentially standing in the way of Luck and the Colts’ post-season aspirations.
It wouldn’t be poor taste for the Colts to not have a celebration at the return of Manning. It wouldn’t make them look bitter or angry over the fact that the split primarily happened because the potential future value of Luck was thought to be higher than the short-term health of Manning, who is leading the league with 22 touchdown passes and 2,179 passing yards right now. Nothing wrong with just a standing ovation for the guy who might be about to destroy your team with his new team.