Within seconds, NFL Network and ESPN reporters who had never attended medical school — and, like me, could not pass the MCAT entrance exam with House M.D. as their tutor — began theorizing about “nerve regeneration,” and whether Manning’s brain synapses had formed a neural connection with his triceps.
Over the next 24 hours, the most deserving Super Bowl stories were again put on hold: Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning; the nine coaching lives of Tom Coughlin and how he saved his job for the second time in five years; Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski trying to pull a Terrell Owens by playing through a debilitating foot injury; and the obvious: Giants-Pats II, a New York-Boston Redux for all the marbles in the NFL kitty just four years after they enraptured millions with an heirloom of an ending.
Thanks Peyton, thanks Jim — way to make this week all about your homeroom breakup. You couldn’t have waited till everyone left town Monday to pass notes in class?
This is unneeded, almost sad.
The NFL’s greatest ambassador the past decade, the reason Lucas Oil Stadium was built and Indianapolis was awarded a Super Bowl, can’t even let a kid like Luck have his moment without Team Peyton leaking news. He couldn’t allow Eli one week in the spotlight during his most impressive season. Especially after so many more years when Eli was compared unfairly to his future Hall-of-Fame brother.
Who knew such an accessible, thought-to-be grounded superstar — the self-deprecating pitchman who hosted “Saturday Night Live” with as much humility as humor — had this closet diva side to him?
This is becoming one of the more disappointing exits by an athletic legend since, yes, that text monster from Kiln, Miss.
Really, where did Peyton Manning get his Brett Favre Unseemly Retirement Starter Kit?
“I don’t think Peyton is Brett Favre,” said Ben Utecht, Manning’s former tight end in Indianapolis, who played on the 2007 Colts Super Bowl team. “This isn’t a guy who’s played in three cities and is going to go out like that. He’s not that guy. But, yeah, I could see the distraction part of it this week, how that doesn’t look good.”
Doesn’t look good?
If ever Mike Shanahan, who is said to be interested if Manning is released, had a reason beyond health to reject Manning as a possibility to be his next stopgap quarterback, he got it this week. A damaged-goods Manning is one thing; Peyton, the unmasked drama king, is another.
“This is just my advice,” Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs said when asked Friday in Indianapolis if the Redskins or anyone else should consider Manning. “I’m the fan now. I think what you need to install with him is just what he did at Indy. It needs to be that offense. If somebody takes him and tries to put him in a West Coast offense, throwin’ this or throwin’ that, or somebody else is calling the plays . . . the scheme they had fit him to a T.”