OAKLAND CA - DECEMBER 26: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts leaves the field against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 26 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
It's official. The Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis is over. Well, tomorrow it will be officially official.
We all knew it was coming (even if we didn't want to admit it), but I can't say that I wasn't holding onto the small hope that #18 could stick around and finish his career as a Colt. Unfortunately, that's the not the case and we will see an entirely different form of our beloved Indianapolis Colts in 2012.
Chris Mortensen (surprise, surprise) broke the story and the Twittersphere immediately began blowing up:
Colts and Manning will part ways, per team sources #NFL32— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 6, 2012
This will be a day that Colts fans remember forever. This is the prime definition of a turning point and we are now forced to embrace it. A decade from from now, we will be able to look back at this decision and praise it, or look back and feel absolutely disgusted. It's a gamble and there will absolutely be some fans that revolt and turn away from the franchise, but I don't believe there could have ever been a better time to make this gamble.
The tables now turn to the Andrew Luck era and what it will bring for the city of Indianapolis. Be excited about that, but we'd all be lying to ourselves if we didn't admit that this day is extremely depressing. We might have known it was inevitable, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
So long, Peyton. So long.
UPDATE: Mike Chappell is playing with our emotions. While it's likely a done deal, Chappell believes there's still some wiggle room:
Colts/Manning separation likely, but not official. Irsay/#18 still talking. Resolution expected Wednesday.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) March 6, 2012