Peyton Manning returns to play a game in Indianapolis this week, in case you have been under a rock. He is doing so with much the same atmosphere as when he departed twenty months ago, with Jim Irsay making comments, and then trying to cover for them, and still not sounding good. You might recall that there was plenty of exchange before Manning was cut, with plenty of leaks coming from the Colts side that Manning might never play again (almost right, if they meant might never throw 50 touchdowns). Irsay referred to Manning as a politician at one point. The leaks kept coming, and I wrote that they needed to just move on, weeks before the Colts did.
Earlier this week, Jim Irsay jumped back in with comments to Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” said Irsay while showing his one Super Bowl ring. That angered just about everyone publicly, from John Fox to Bill Polian. Peyton Manning won’t say anything because there is no gain in it.
Well, that won’t stop the media from speculating about Peyton’s state of mind. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star writes about what Manning did not say.
After his mass press conference, we ducked into a doorway at the Broncos facility, and I asked him point-blank, “Do you bear any ill will or resentment toward the Colts?”
. . .
Manning paused, looked down at the floor, then shook his head.
“To answer a question like that doesn’t serve me well,” he told The Star in a private moment. “I feel like the question is based on the (Irsay) comments, so it’s just easier not to answer anything along those lines.”
Odd that Kravitz would call that a private moment. Kravitz also, in trying to read the situation, says that Manning would “be perfectly happy to drop about 60 points on the Colts this coming Sunday night.” Of course he would. This has nothing to do with what would be natural competitive desire to stick it to someone who slighted you.
Manning wants to do that against everyone. This game might be hard for Manning emotionally, but I guarantee you he is obsessing over every little detail in wanting to score as many points as possible, just like he does every week. Les Carpenter’s story at Yahoo with Tom Moore details just how obsessed Manning is in every little detail, and that is in March. Is he really going to do more than put everything in to beating the Colts, just like he always does?
“In life, you need to be at peace with other people’s decisions that you have no control over,” Manning said. That doesn’t mean you have to treat them any differently on the field, when your standard is putting everything into every detail to win. Manning won’t be doing things to run up the score in the final minutes, but you can bet he wants to put up 60 points. He always does.