It's Time for Football Without Peyton Manning
The 2011 NFL season started off with a bang on Thursday, with the Super Bowl winners of the past two years, the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, going head to head. My teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, in addition to most other teams in the league, will kick things off tomorrow. In contrast to my pure elation at the start of the season last year, this year the start of the season brings some sadness.
Sadness at the fact that perennial Iron Man Peyton Manning will miss his first start in his 14 year NFL career due to a scary sounding neck injury. Since 1998, no football fan has any idea of the league without Manning. He is the face of the NFL and his command of the language of the game is legendary.
Peyton Manning is a huge part of why I decided to go out on a limb and root for two teams. If you like the game of football at all, you have to respect Manning (unless you're a Patriots fan). He makes you appreciate the game. He shows you that football isn't just a bunch of huge men jumping on and trying to kill one another. There is real skill and strategy behind each and every move. Manning is a master at the cerebral aspect of football that can easily be forgotten when enjoying a game over wings and beer.
At the beginning of the week the sports world was shocked at the notion that Manning could miss just one game. Now, it's dealing with the fact that he may miss an entire season.
I know, I know. It's football. It's a rough game. Players get hurt. Sometimes they miss entire season. Usually there aren't extended montages and tribute pieces when a player is injured, but this is what we have with the news about Peyton. Not having the presence of Peyton Manning on the football field for any length of time is a big deal. But, it's time to get used to the fact that he is nursing a severe injury and send him our get well wishes (when not sobbing "WHY GOD WHY").
In a statement about his injury, Manning said that he knows that he will miss his teammates a whole lot more than they will miss him. I'm not sure if he has any idea how much his fans, and indeed the game of football, will miss him over the next 2-3 months, and possibly the season.
In all of the news about Manning this week, which quickly went from bad to worse, there hasn't been much to laugh about. He has now had 3 neck surgeries in 19 months--that's not an area that you want to play around with. No amount of blog posts or articles offering to put the injury in perspective made Peyton Manning fans feel any better.
But, this is why the Onion was invented. To bring laughter into otherwise upsetting situations. The video below makes light of a situation that isn't funny, but when taken to extremes becomes hilarious. Do yourselves a favor an have a peek.
As for you, Peyton Manning: Take care of yourself and get well soon.