Like many football fans of various teams, I'm following the Colts' situation with interest. The firing of the Polians surprised me, and it intrigues me because it sets up a possible chain reaction.
Will the new GM want the authority to fire Caldwell and bring in his own coach? To get a top GM prospect, will Irsay have to grant this authority?
If a new GM fires Caldwell, the last vestige of the Dungy era, does Manning become an impediment in hiring a top coach? Hold on, don't scoff! Undoubtably, Manning is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Would a top coach be willing to come in knowing he has to convince Manning to accept a new offensive system and to take a secondary role? Would a top coaching candidate be concerned about the sway Manning would hold over teammates in any dispute, however minor? Would a top coaching candidate look at the Colts' current situation and say he'll take the coaching job only if Luck is drafted and Manning is released, allowing the coach to control the team completely and to mold his first year QB to his system?
There's certainly precedence for established QBs to butt heads with new coaches. When Mike Sherman took over for the Packers, he allowed Favre to skip OTAs and mini-camps, creating a feeling locally that Favre was put ahead of the team. Favre certainly clashed with his last employer's coach, Brad Childress, with Favre challenging the play calling and stirring some dissention. Dan Marino ran into the same situation when Jimmy Johnson took over the Dolphin job. Marino was on the downward slope of his career, but Johnson didn't want to deal with the Dolphins' 800 pound gorilla and succeeded in removing Marino from the team.
Does the trifecta of circumstances - possible new head coach, availability of Andrew Luck with the first pick, and the pending $28 million commitment to Manning - result in the Colts wishing Peyton the best and sending him on his way? Ultimately, would this clean break, however "blasphemous," be the best first step for returning the Colts to prominence?