Sunday, January 21, 2007

An Open Letter to Peyton Manning

Dear Peyton,

It’s hard to describe what we have as a rivalry. You’re an extremely famous quarterback – your face literally on during every NFL telecast a dozen times in your various television advertising endeavors – who has no idea who I am. Myself just a devout NFL fan who noticed that your will to win in close regular season games is surpassed only by your gag job in playoff games. People defend you, and with careful regard for one of my heroes who never won a Super Bowl, I must point out the fun fact that you haven’t won a championship on any level, and that your college team won the title the year after you left. With Tee Martin under center.

It’s amazing to me how people continue to defend you when you’ve had top-tier talent around you the last half decade yet have failed to make the Super Bowl, only reaching one AFC Championship during that time. Your defense wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad, yielding only 13 and 6 first half points in the prior postseason Patriot losses. The fact your highly-regarded offense put together only seventeen points total in those games actually led to real changes, which Cris Collinsworth thankfully made note of in the Chiefs game.

But I feel like you’ve stumbled into one this year. You’re playing the worst Patriots team since they started winning Super Bowls and your defense is playing at a rather high level, with your running game bouncing back nicely from the loss of Edgerrin James. In the first two rounds, Tony Dungy treated you like Rex Grossman, going with the run-run-run-run strategy as the Ravens and Chiefs combined to intercept you nearly a half dozen times, with a few more getting tipped away by Ray Lewis, who you apparently sent one of your endorsement checks to. You’re playing at home against your old rival, Tom Brady, and if you can’t close out the deal, I think it’s time to settle down and get into a career in broadcast so Peter King can make sweet manlove to you in person, as opposed to through his columns.

But this millennium hasn’t been kind to my sporting interests. Roy Williams, Mack Brown, Bill Cowher and the Boston Red Sox have all won championships, transcendent college players, a slew of terrible playoff quarterbacks, a freak injury to Carson Palmer freeing up and some bad managing mistakes by Joe Torre leading the way to championship immortality to those I previously spent my time snickering at.

Evil Lord Manning, I’ve spent considerable more time making fun of you, but I’ve accepted the fact you’re probably Super Bowl bound tonight. Last year I sat here and predicted Steeler victories over the Broncos and Seahawks, and while I’m in no means putting money on you, your new friend Adam and the entire city of Indianapolis to knock off Brady and Belichick, I think it’s a very real possibility, and one I’m ready to accept, right up there with the fact you might not be involved in a homosexual relationship with Kenny Chesney.

Good luck tonight, Peyton, as I hope the rest of your team plays well enough you can turn in a sub-forty QB rating and win again. After years of choking, you deserve a lucky break or two, a la the Steelers.

Yours in Pigskin,


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