Ron Jaworski, Peyton Manning, and Father Time

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 10: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the football against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Chiefs 19-9. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

A lot has been made the last few days of ESPN analyst and former-Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski's comments regarding Peyton Manning's play this season. PFT recaps Jaworski's statement:

"The last couple weeks, as I've studied Peyton Manning, he has not been real sharp," Jaworski said today on Mike and Mike in the Morning. "Maybe there does come a time when the skills start to diminish a little bit."

...


"I'm not saying it is, but I'm seeing little signs now that the deep sideline throws are not as accurate as they used to be, there's not the zip on the ball that there used to be," Jaworski said. "Maybe father time might be catching up with Peyton Manning a little bit."

Naturally, this has prompted Colts fans to lash out at Jaworski, calling him all kinds of names and reminding him that, back in 2005, he said some unflattering things about  Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.

However, shooting the messenger is not going to make the problem go away.

Yes, it's true that Peyton Manning is having another great year, statistically. Right now, for my money, he's the 2010 season's MVP. He has 11 TDs, only two INTs, and has completed 68% of his passes despite an inconsistent running game and a poor offensive line protecting him. But, Jaworski watches a ton of tape on players before doing his Monday Night Football broadcasts, and he has always praised the Colts and Manning in years past. He was especially big on Indy after their beat Baltimore in the 2006 playoffs, saying the Colts 'out-physicalled' the Ravens in that game.

So, instead of attacking Jaworski for, you know, doing his job, please take a step back and look at the big picture. That big picture includes a rumor we posted several weeks ago, and rather ominously that rumor is looking more and more like the truth.

I personally don't subscribe to Jaworski's 'Father Time' theory. I am, however, inclined to agree with his opinion that Peyton is not making certain throws accurately. The reason for this might be pain in Peyton Manning throwing arm, stemming from an injury to his neck.

Last month, following the Colts loss to the Texans, we reported on a rumor that the neck injury is shooting pain down Peyton's throwing arm. He needs constant treatment on the neck, and it is 'worrying' the Colts.

Naturally, as has been typical of fans in recent months, people freaked out and attacked me for violating some silly code of 'journalistic ethics,' or something like that, when we reported this rumor. Now, nearly a month later, we're starting to see legitimate reporters and intelligent gameday analysts like Jaworski make note of how Manning doesn't look right. Food for thought, folks.

I've stayed in contact with my source (who is indeed a living, breathing person), and they've backed up their info to me many times. Personally, I believe them. But, since I do not have an X-Ray in front of me, or a voice mail conversation between Bill Polian and Peyton Manning detailing how they will cover up this injury, we still consider this a rumor.

However, it's a rumor that, rather alarmingly, is looking more and more like a truth.

For those of you still looking to lash out at me, or lecture me on how this site should be run, kindly remember that this past off-season Peyton Manning had neck surgery back on March 3rd. This surgery was to relieve pain in Peyton's neck, which required constant treatment in order for him to play games. It's also worth noting that this neck injury never showed up on the weekly injury reports last season for the Colts.

Mike Florio made a good point about this at the time:

In other words, Manning has had an injury that the Colts claim really isn't an injury, in order to prevent an accusation that they were covering up his injury.

Really, if the thing has never affected him "on or off the field," why in the hell was did they cut him open?  And why did they announce it to the world when they have no requirement to say anything about injuries until the Wednesday before Week One of the 2010 season?

Here's why.  If this news had leaked without the Colts getting in front of it, the obvious reaction (by pains in the ass like me) would have been that the Colts had failed to disclose the injury.

And just because the Colts say it never affected Manning doesn't mean they're telling the truth.

If the Colts were willing to seemingly hide this 'injury' from the reports last year, it would not surprise me if they are hiding the rumored neck-throwing arm injury we reported on this year.

Obviously, it is no fun to write articles about how Peyton Manning might be hurt. But, if he is, it explains Jaworski's observations. Other people are more comfortable simply dismissing Jaworski and covering their ears while shouting 'BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!' at the top of their lungs. Personally, I don't think that is appropriate here. 'Jaws' is a pretty good TV analyst, and he often gushes about Peyton Manning and how he plays football. If he's noticed something off about Peyton's play, that gets my attention.

That said, if there is anyone in this league who can gut this out, it's Peyton. Remember, he once played a game with a broken jaw. Think about that for a second. A. Broken. Jaw. Big P is one tough sucker, but he is going to need help via his defense and running game going forward if indeed this injury rumor is true.

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