When it comes to NFL news stories nowadays, there are many popular topics. Tom Brady and the Patriots are always attention grabbers. Michael Vick and the “dream team” Eagles with their current struggles also get headlines. I can’t help but notice one glaring omission. No one is talking about Peyton Manning anymore.
Sure, the news about Peyton Manning’s unhealed neck was front page news from as soon as 2 weeks prior to the season’s opening week until Manning had missed his 2nd straight game. It became official that Manning would miss the entire season in early September and it seems as though everyone is more than happy to move on with life.
Peyton Manning has been the face of the Indianapolis Colts for over a decade. His command of the offense and overall skill at the quarterback position are widely celebrated as elite. Year in and year out, Manning is always in the MVP discussion.
How could such a player’s absence fly so far under the radar? Why is no one concerning themselves with his rehabilitation or the bizarre circumstances of the whole situation.
Here are some of the questions that I have regarding the Peyton Manning injury:
– Who is going to question the severity or legitimacy of an injury when dealing with post-operational regeneration of nerve endings in your neck?
– What other injury could you possibly have that is more intangible, less common, or less understood than having non-regenerated nerve endings in your neck?
– What kind of physical therapy can you do to rehab this injury?
– If you were to ask most NFL fans to name an organization that would happily bench starters at the risk of losing games after securing a playoff bye, in order to have a stronger team in the long run, which team would it be?
Now, these are of course mere observational inquiries and, in no way, do I intend to accuse Peyton Manning of faking his condition to ensure the #1 pick in the draft go to the Colts.
However, I am saying that I find the whole thing extremely questionable and find the lack of interest or questioning interesting.
In fact, if I were to write a fictional novel on NFL conspiracy theories, it would go something like this:
The main character is an NFL owner that has an MVP caliber quarterback reaching the height/end of his prime. The secondary characters include that legendary QB and the college phenom who gets caught up in the scheme.
While negotiating his new contract in the off-season, the QB all-star is told of a plan to stage a major injury for the upcoming season, having already convinced the #1 college-to-NFL prospect QB to stay for his final year of collegiate eligibility (thus ensuring that instead of falling to a legitimately awful team after his junior year, he would fall to a Superbowl contender, behind a Hall of Fame mentor to hand him the reigns).
To get Mr. MVP to agree to faking the injury, the owner decides to pay him 90 million dollars over 5 years with an injury year, as opposed to a 100 million dollar max contract for 5 active years. That’s a difference of 22.5 million per year played versus 20 million per year played, respectively.
QB fakes injury, team struggles (without fault-finding or suspicion), Mr. MVP makes miraculous and sudden recovery when hope of anything but last place is lost, college phenom graduates and goes #1 to conspiring team to ride the bench for a few years, and conspiring team continues on to another couple decades of dominance.
I’ll make two predictions for the Manning situation:
1. The Indianapolis Colts will win their first game as soon as the next worst team wins its second.
2. More talks of Colts conspiracy will arise the closer it gets to the 2012 NFL draft.