Week in Review: Last Year Of The Quarterback

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With the relative doldrums of last off-season’s lock out now firmly in clouded memory, the enthusiast in all of us looks forward to the dawn of a new seventeen-week series. As if frustrated by not being allowed to use their clever graphics and buzz words last year, the NFL Network strains to give us a dogged insight into the training camps now in full swing across the greater American landscape. But while greater Bengaldom looks wildly around at the fervor and trepidation of our incredible draft and future season at large, the general sports pundocratcy seems to have turned a blind eye to the talent that has been amassed in the bowels of Paul Brown Stadium, offering little to no coverage of our boys in Orange. That’s okay, seems we aren’t alone…

In contrast, the engrossing storyline of Peyton Manning’s triumphant return to football as a Denver Bronco is one of the darkest comedies seen in recent years; largely because the joke is going to be on those who are indirectly staking their professional names on it. However, there are a number of subtle humors that are playing out in this tragedy, and it would be a shame not to see them get at least a mild chuckle.

Foremost was the contract itself. $96 Million over 5 years is nothing short of ludicrous when one weighs projected outcome verses the new CBA and salary cap. Most important is keeping in perspective that Peyton Manning is 36 years old, not his significant neck injury. One could say that Manning does hold a degree of Iron Man by starting 227 consecutive games in the NFL, but one could also say that the obvious degree of wear-and-tear is reflected in his 2011 season. Subjectivity aside, let’s hearken back to the great Joe Montana who was being already being usurped by Steve Young when he was 35 (1991) as he entered a nearly two season exile from an elbow injury in the 1990 NFC Championship Game. While Montana played for several more years, he was plagued by injuries that kept him off the field for stretches of games at a time. Undeniably, Montana did take the Kansas City Chiefs to the play-offs in his final year at the age of 39, but if the comparison between Manning and Montana should be drawn the question shouldn’t be whether the comparison is accurate, but whether or not a single season play-off run in five years is worth $96M?