It's officially gotten out of hand, and people are fed up.
Jason Lisk, The Big Lead
Quite frankly, at this point, it’s shameful and Jim Irsay is acting like a spoiled brat. Yes, Manning certainly responded in kind during Super Bowl week, but the heavier guns have been consistently coming from the Colts.
Dan Wretzel, Yahoo Sports!
Irsay and Manning both know this deal is done. The Colts have cleaned house of the Manning era – general manager, president, head coach, a slew of assistants and even a strength and conditioning coach have all been jettisoned. Manning is next. Neither wants to take the blame. And it stands to reason that, if healthy and given his starting job, Manning doesn’t want to leave. There was a high road here. There was a smart road here. Manning has, at the very least, flirted with it. Once provoked, Irsay has avoided it at all costs.
Paul Kuharsky, ESPN
But Irsay sure seems to love the limelight that’s coming with this. He said before the Super Bowl that he thought they’d meet soon after the title game. And that didn’t happen. Maybe it’s Manning delaying things? We don’t know.
I won’t be surprised, however, if in seven days we hear from Irsay, likely via Twitter, that the meeting still hasn't happened.
He’s got until March 8 to keep spinning, after all.
As we've said ever since Jim Caldwell was fired, Peyton Manning will not be on this Colts roster in 2012. It's done. Set in stone. As real as the 'jiggle' you see every time Kate Upton walks down a runway.
What is happening now is that both Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning are fighting over legacy, public relations, the media game. For the unfortunate few of you who still cling to the corpse of a notion that Manning will suit up in Colts blue next season, you have my sympathies. You are the poor, dumb wretches that Irsay and Manning are fighting over.
Like many of you, I want this stupid, public, silly slap fight over with and done. Peyton Manning is the past. One of the reasons you haven't seen me write much about this fight, despite it being a page views GOLDMINE, is because I'm sick of talking about that past.
Hell, even ole Bill Polian had a few things to say recently about all this, and Indy Star columnist and Irsay waterboy Bob Kravitz publicly called him a liar for it. Entertaining? Yes. Relevant to the 2012 season for the Indianapolis Colts? No.
So, yeah. I'm sick of it too. However, the reason it is ongoing is that both sides are fighting over the loyalty of you, the fans.
All this information getting tossed out there regarding Manning's health; the bone spurs in his neck, the weak arm strength, the concerns about spinal stenosis, all that info is indeed coming from the Colts. Where the hell else would it get leaked from? Irsay's mouthpiece can deny it all he wants. I don't believe him. That's a personal choice on my part.
From Manning's camp, all the timely interviews during Super Bowl week, the leaks about doctors 'clearing' him to play, all that stuff is designed to get teams other than the Colts interested in Manning's services. It's also designed to get fans excited about the prospect of a healthy Peyton Manning returning because, like it or not, fans often are the catalyst for decisions made by the team.
There is also the money factor. The long held belief is that there are no Colts fans in Indianapolis. There are Manning fans. When Manning leaves, those fans will go with him wherever he goes. Thus, the 'Colts fans' who bought Manning jerseys, Frisbees, and mugs for the Indianapolis Colts will do the same for the Washington Redskins, should Manning sign there.
From my perspective, it is THIS element that Peyton and Irsay are fighting over. Irsay wants the Manning fans to stay true to the Colts (remember his 'the horseshoe always comes first' line), whereas Manning wants fans to follow him wherever he goes because he knows that following will be a HUGE selling point with whatever suitors come calling when he is cut.
For someone like me, I just want the damn thing done and over with already. Irsay has stated that he will not pay Peyton his $28 million dollar bonus on March 8th, and there is zero incentive for Peyton to renegotiate his deal. Cut him, and let's move on. If certain Colts 'fans' abandon the franchise and follow Peyton to Houston, Seattle, Washington, Denver, or Arizona, then fine.
F&ck'm. They weren't real fans anyway.
Now, obviously, Jim Irsay does not agree with my rather blunt opinion, but that's not something that should concern true Colts fans either. If the perception out there is that the Colts are nothing without Peyton, that they have no legacy or value of any kind without him there, then it's important for Indianapolis to prove that it is still a model franchise sans Manning.
Drafting Andrew Luck is a great step in the right direction.
For the Colts, most of their glory day history is still associated with Baltimore. Peyton is the exception. He's the only glory associated with Indianapolis. Without a new face to further stamp the Colts legacy in Indianapolis, the Manning years will be viewed as the exception rather than the rule.
This is why, for me, I just want Irsay to cut the guy and move on. We all need to move on, and those that can't need to get lost. Seriously, I love Peyton Manning, the player. I will always call him the greatest who has ever played. However, I root for the Colts, not for the Peyton Mannings. Right now, Peyton Manning is the past, and I am not interested in that anymore.
I want to focus on the future, and I, and fans like me, cannot do that as long as Peyton Manning is still hanging around. Cut him, bring on Andrew Luck, and let's get this "New Era" moving already.