The last couple of days have been quite a whirlwind of activity regarding Peyton Manning and the Colts. A lot focus of that activity has been on the progression (Or lack there of) of Manning's rehab. Peyton reopened that discussion with an uncharacteristic shot at NFL analyst Phil Simms in response to Simm's comments about the future hall of famer "not being open to the Colts drafting Andrew Luck." With NFL personalities and Colts fans alike all giving their opinions on what they think the Colts front office should or will do with Manning or the possibility of having the upcoming draft's 1# pick in 2012, something I find quite obvious is flying under the radar. I personally feel we all got a glimpse of what the near future is for both Peyton and the Colts organization. Manning is going to be the future head coach of this team. You've already seen him patrolling the sidelines and in the booth mic'd up (Hint). Before you all bash me and call me a nutcase, think long and hard about this. Manning is a great QB not only because of his talent, but also because of his love for the game. As studious as he is in his pregrame preparation week to week (and you can throw in the off-season as well), only someone who loves what they are doing would put themselves through that much mental punishment and repetition. You have to love what you're doing to put in that kind of dedication. It's clearly obvious that Manning truly loves what he does. That love for the game is what makes him one of the all-time best at his position. Now that his stellar career is winding down, the time has come to find a viable replacement. Honestly, do think once Manning hangs up the cleats he's just going to "ride off into the sunset" and leave football behind?
With a talent like Andrew Luck in the wings and most likely available come draft day, that time is now. Luck is by far the best QB in college and I don't care what conference he plays in. In fact, he's the perfect QB to sit under Manning. Why? What other current college QB do you think has the mental capacity to soak up all of the knowledge that Manning has and could mimic his game? There aren't many pro QBs right now who could do it for that matter. As physically gifted as Luck is, his IQ for the game might be his best asset. He makes the right decisions with the ball 90% of the time, and he does it on a team where he's the biggest reason why they are even relevant at all (sound familiar?). When it comes to Stanford, the only player that matters is Luck. He is the best player in the country and is about the closest thing to Manning the college world has seen since, well, Manning. With speculation on when or whether 18 plays again, I believe the organization has been preparing for life after Manning for quite some time with regard to this season and the slow rehabilitation results from post surgery. It is safe to say things are not going as well as hoped for with Manning's injury. With that being said, "Manning 2.0" has been in the making for what may have started out as a 4 year plan but now has moved to the top of the Colts priority list because of the uncertainty of his immediate future.
For all the nay sayers who just don't want to embrace the "life after Manning" reality, the transition of him from the field to the booth or sideline will be seamless. Imagine this, Peyton running the show as an OC or head coach with a system that he and Howard Mudd pretty much built together. All he has to do is teach his secrets to the heir apparent of the franchise and you have another 15 years of consistent, exciting football to watch. This organization has the chance to skip going through the painful "rebuilding process" that usually torpedoes franchises for 5 to 10 years (Or more. See Detroit) and stay on top as one of the best teams in the NFL. Now who wouldn't want to see that happen? Given the fact that Luck is the kind of talent that only comes along once every 15 years in this league, pulling the trigger on snagging him if given the opportunity is a no brainer.