At one point, the website Deadspin.com repeatedly pointed out how much ESPN was covering Tim Tebow. It was overkill, but with a purpose — people paid attention. There’s a chance, a good chance, the coverage of Peyton Manning over the next couple of months will put that to shame.
The Manning media train is just pulling out, beginning with Bob Kravitz’s story last week, gaining speed thanks to yesterday’s ESPN interview and the fact the Super Bowl is in Indianapolis. Certainly, the Cardinals are going to be in the middle of this tsunami of discussion — on the “Mike & Mike” show on ESPN radio this morning, the Cards and Manning were discussed not once, not twice, but three different times by three different guests: Adam Schefter, Cris Carter and Al Michaels.
(A quick aside: Manning hasn’t been released yet. I know everyone has just started to assume he will be — even I have to say it seems to be headed in that direction — but it’s not in concrete. Interesting note by the National Football Post’s guru Andrew Brandt, that the Colts would suffer a $16M cap hit in 2012 if they cut him. If they keep him, his cap number is $17M. A heavy price to pay either way — although if they cut him, they save $28 million in actual dollars.)
This is all going to come down to health, which has been repeated over and over. Just because Manning is throwing right now doesn’t mean much; it’s one thing to throw in January or February with no pass rush to open guys and another to do it in the heat of a game in October. Another thing to pay attention to is how he throws. Just because he can throw doesn’t mean he can throw with necessary velocity, which has apparently been the question as this nerve regenerates. Reading and hearing about the injury, it sounds less that Manning would face a greater risk of debilitating injury if he returns and more like his ability to play at a high level that could be the problem.
Manning said yesterday the doctors told him he was “on point” with his recovery, whatever that might mean right now. I have zero doubt that if Manning can still play physically, he wants to and will play. Add that to the fact that, you know, he was a pretty good quarterback the last time he took the field, and he will have a ton of suitors if he is released even with the questions about his health.
And then the coverage will make it look like Tebow squared. The National Manning League.
Tags: Peyton Manning
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