Time for Peyton Manning to come home. For good.

Peyton Manning (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning
(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

I love Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning made me a fanatical football fan. One of the most heartbreaking days of my life was the day Peyton Manning left the Indianapolis Colts. And his homecoming as a Bronco was no easier. Peyton Manning is the reason I have football blogs, and Twitter followers, and talk on the radio.

Which is why it hurts me so badly to say this…

But, it’s time for Peyton Manning to retire.

He’s won football games, and playoff games, and a Super Bowl. He’s broken record upon NFL record.

But age and injury and surgery have finally caught up with him. Peyton Manning isn’t the Peyton Manning that I used to know. He may be at times. And his football mind is sharper than ever. But as each season goes on, his laser rocket arm can’t consistently deliver. And there isn’t enough time for his aging body to recover.

Peyton Manning got booed by his own fans in Denver last week. And selfishly, I just can’t stand to see it. I can’t endure a quarterback controversy or listen to screams to bench the future Hall of Famer in favor of someone younger. Not when that quarterback is My Peyton.

He’s got a family now and his health and more money than he can ever spend. And endless opportunities in football. And a fan base back in Indianapolis that aches to welcome him back. And retire his jersey. And build him a statue. And reminisce about the good old days while shedding tears of both joy and sadness…

And end his legendary career right where it began.

I’m coming home

I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming home

Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday

I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes

I’m coming home, I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming…home

Come home, Peyton.

We’re waiting.

XO

That Time I Thought I Was Over Peyton

It happened last Saturday. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I had just written my first unflattering story about Peyton Manning. He had gone off on the Denver scoreboard operator to the media.

Acting like a diva. Who did he think he was? Gisele Bundchen? It’s like I don’t even know him anymore.

You know what? I think I’m over him. Seriously. Two seasons removed from my beloved Colts, I think the third year is a charm. My team has moved on. And I think I finally have too. The Broncos and Colts have both found success, the Broncos with Peyton Manning and the Colts with Andrew Luck. And they seem like they’re on a collision course. Like two ships in the night…destined to meet at some point in the NFL playoffs. And you know what? For the first time, the thought doesn’t sicken me. I’m actually hoping for it.

I know this sounds crazy, and judge me if you want to…but Peyton Manning is the hardest breakup I’ve ever had. Seriously. But like they say, time heals everything. It just takes…time.

What a beautiful day.

I hop in my car and open the sunroof. And instead of turning on sports radio, I plug in my iPhone. As I hit the open highway, my hair blowing in the wind, a familiar tune starts playing through my speakers…

Still far away

From where I belong

But it’s always darkest 
before the dawn

 

So you can doubt

And you can hate

But I know, no matter what it takes

 

I’m coming home

I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming home…

My mind drifts back to last October. The Sunday Night Football promo. Peyton’s homecoming at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The sun shines brightly through my windshield, rendering me temporarily blind. Just like it did on that day. As I try to adjust, I can feel my eyes getting misty. I get a lump in my throat. And pretty soon, I know.

I guess that’s the beauty of memories. No matter how much has changed, they’re always there to remind you of what hasn’t.

Maybe I’ll get over Peyton another day.

Someday.

I hope.

Until then, I’ll just add another chapter to the story.

XO

In Defense Of the Denver Scoreboard Operator 

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (Photo: Ron Chenoy/US Presswire)

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning
(Photo: Ron Chenoy/US Presswire)

Alright, Peyton. Calm down. Or you’re going to pop a vein in that big noggin of yours.

Yes, you are Peyton Manning. You control every facet of the game…every snap, every down, every call, and every cheer. But, there are some things that even you cannot control. Yes, I just said that.

And human nature is one of them.

On Thursday night, the Denver Broncos were up 35-21 on the San Diego Chargers. There were two minutes left in the game. During the break, the Denver scoreboard operator decided to have some fun.

Peyton Manning was not amused.

“I’m not sure what he’s doing. He’s playing music and showing our players dancing and getting the crowd fired up when we have the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought it was disrespectful.”

–Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning

Oddly enough, it was Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers who was on the sideline smiling and laughing throughout.

Now, this scoreboard operator is probably a guy who’s getting paid ten dollars an hour. He probably has a family. He’s probably a huge Broncos fan. And he was probably still buzzed on adrenaline, having just watched you break the NFL touchdown record a few nights ago.

I know you never had this problem in Indianapolis. I guess some fans are just more trainable than others.

Still, the Peyton I know would have called the guy down to the locker room, reviewed the Peyton Manning Rules of Crowd Control with him (over a beer), then patted him on the back and sent him on his way.

I know you’re “The Sheriff.” And I know that being a control freak is part of what earned you that title. But, really? Calling the guy out in the media? Come on, Peyton. You’re better than that.

Also, when you make Philip Rivers look good-natured…it’s time to reexamine your life.

Just saying.

Now, go find someone your own size to pick on. Maybe a kicker. Or Eli.

XO

Wes Welker: I Was Roofied

Broncos WR Wes Welker at the Kentucky Derby in May

Broncos WR Wes Welker at the Kentucky Derby in May

Oh, Wes Welker. You are killing me right now. And not because you got nabbed by the NFL for violation of the banned substances policy. You’re not even on my fantasy team. And with four of them, I basically own everyone.

What kills me, is that you…a grown man, a football player, and a professional athlete, went with the line most commonly used by badly behaved sorority girls: “Someone must have put something in my drink.” Come on, man.

Your trip to the Kentucky Derby last May was well documented. You were photographed (in sunglasses) handing out $100 bills after collecting $57,000 on a bet that should have paid out $42,000. But that’s neither here nor there.

It all sounded pretty epic. So epic in fact, that the NFL decided to conduct a random drug test.

And that was before rumors surfaced that you “popped a molly” at the race. Now, I have to be honest. When I first heard that, I thought someone was referring to a drunken sorority girl. But, no. Apparently that’s what they call Ecstasy these days.

Now, who would want to drug an NFL wide receiver at the Kentucky Derby? Maybe, a drunken sorority girl?! Hoping to take advantage of you? Again…come on, man.

And Just to prove you’re only as good as your following on twitter, my girl Kiki comes out with this one:

I’d ask you what you were wearing, but victim blaming is just not cool anymore. But, in a different tone…just what in the hell were you wearing?

welker-derby4

As it turns out, it’s a good thing you won that extra $14,000. You’ll need it to help cover the $700,000 you’re going to lose in game checks the first four weeks of the NFL season.

Looks like you just learned the first rule of gambling: the house always wins.

Or, in your case…the league.

XO

NFL Free Agency: Free for All. But Not Free — at All.

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A new NFL season is upon us.

With NFL free agency signings slowing down a bit, I thought it would be a good time to step back and review what we’ve learned so far about the 2014 season.

John Elway and Bill Belichick are already engaged in a season-long chess match. So far, the Denver Broncos have claimed Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and DeMarcus Ware, leading us to believe that “offense wins games — defense wins championships,” may be their mantra this year.

Meanwhile, the Patriots gathered Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Brandon LaFell. And according to their former cornerback, Aqib Talib (who claims he does not have a hip problem), the Patriots report fake injuries. Which surprises no one.

Michael Vick will stay in green and white, but he won’t be wearing number 7. Vick may challenge Jets quarterback Geno Smith for the starting job — but says he won’t challenge him for his number. Also, the Jets aren’t happy unless they have a full-fledged quarterback controversy on their hands. And ESPN camped out at training camp.

Mark Sanchez will also stay in green and white, as he heads from the Jets to the Eagles, where he will compete  for the job of backup quarterback to Nick Foles with Matt Barkley. Apparently, the job requirements for backup quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles include good hands (for clipboard holding), playing for USC, and being really, really, ridiculously good looking.

Speaking of ridiculously good looking…in releasing wide receivers Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn, and Domenik Hixon, the Carolina Panthers must think quarterback Cam Newton really is Superman and that he can throw the ball and catch the ball — himself. No one will be more impressed than Gisele Bundchen if Newton is indeed able to pull this off.

The NFC North is playing musical chairs (or musical ends), with Julius Peppers going to the Packers, Jared Allen to the Bears, and the Vikings still deciding which Packer they will sign this season.

Denver running back Knowshon Moreno is taking his talents (and his tears) to Miami.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is still in the NFL, now backing up Colin Kaepernick at the San Francisco 49ers. And making twice as much money — for now.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signed former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden to ride his bench. And his unicorn.

If you’re a veteran player, prepare to sign a short contract, with one year deals becoming incredibly popular this offseason. There’s a reason they call the NFL “Not For Long.”

And not for long just got, well — less long.

Stay tuned.

XO