Peyton Manning Strikes Pitch Perfect Farewell to Indianapolis

Peyton Manning bidding farewell to the only team the 4 time NFL MVP has known.

Peyton Manning is no longer an Indianapolis Colt. Who ever those words would be stated prior to Manning's retirement? It will never seem natural to say them.

So many have weighed in on their thoughts on the unfortunate situation in Indianapolis. The realities of the sports business--emphasis on business--escape no one, not even living legends.

Peyton Manning's farewell to the only home in the NFL that he has known was gut-wrenching, with both he and the team's owner, Jim Irsay, fighting back tears on multiple occasions. But at the same time, it was somehow heartwarming. It's nice to see a game, fanbase and community truly mean so much to a professional athlete. So many others should take note.

To the non-football fans, this all likely seems to be a bit much. The man hasn't died. Hell, he hasn't even retired. Move on, already.

The reaction to the situation throughout the world of sports isn't entirely about Manning. It's also about those who have watched him. Sports, and sports fans, are emotional. You identify yourself with certain teams, certain players, certain experiences. For the past 14 years, Peyton Manning has been the most prominent athlete in the NFL. Whether or not you rooted for him, he was always there, in his blue and white. And now, that will no longer be the case.

It's like the balance of the universe has been altered. That of the football world certainly has been.

Anyone who admires Manning has a story as to why they are a fan. For me, the desire to appreciate football on a deeper level stems in large part to Peyton. If you see just one game with Manning as quarterback you are captivated. It's safe to say that absolutely no one plays the position in the same way.

Watching Manning, you begin to understand the complexity of football. It’s not just a game of brute force.  It can truly be elevated to an art. A game of human chess. A multitude of options at any given move but what one is the right one?

Much more often than not, Peyton Manning made exactly the right move.

In the end, Manning will be fine. Per ESPN, as of Thursday morning 12 teams have already inquired about Manning. No one knows details of his health situation after 4 neck surgeries in 19 months, but he has been cleared to play by his doctors so we can only trust their judgement and hope for the best.

Where Peyton Manning will land no one knows, but what we do know is that he wasn't ready to let things end as they unfolded in the 2011 season. And, perhaps selfishly, neither are we.

Here's hoping that Manning is back to true Peyton Manning form for the start of the 2012 season. We've all missed seeing him on the playing field perhaps as much as he's missed being out there.

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