It's not that I intentionally hate the man. In fact, I don't. Hate is too strong of a word for a player on a rival fan base's team. Dislike? That's a better word in my humble opinion. But it's not dislike because I think the man is a douche. Far from it. It's dislike because of an obvious level of talent.
I'm not blind to the fact that Fivehead is on pace to have a record breaking season when yardage is the yardstick - 2,545 yards to be exact. And we're only halfway through the season. Now, some will claim that he should garner another NFL MVP. I would agree IFF ("if and only if" for those not familiar with logic) Manning blasts the numbers in the regular season to a point where it's impossible to ignore. Let's say, for instance, that Tom Brady manages to lead the Patriots to the the playoffs. Wouldn't that make a serious case for MVP nods? I mean, isn't that essentially what Peyton did last year?
There are many reasons why I dislike the man, but it has little to do with emotion. It's purely his level of play and the fact that he manages to give the Patriots fits on a regular basis. As an outsider looking in, the frenetic pace set by an Indy offense is interesting to watch, from a purely scholarly perspective. The hurry up offense, commanded by Manning, is a potent weapon in Indy's arsenal. It tires defenses out. It gives little time for adjustment and when a defense adjusts, Manning and his offense can change quickly. Slowing that train down is the best option. Forcing Manning and the offense to move a little slower is, IMO, the key to beating this team.
Now, onto why I like Manning. This will sound twisted, but I think he's made my team and Tom Brady better players. The obvious comparison would be the Lakers and Celtics, Magic and Larry. Each made the other better because they kept raising the bar, upping the level of play. The other had to keep pace or fall by the wayside. Such is the case with our 2 teams and quarterbacks. There can be no sloughing off, no downtime, no taking a day off. Bill Belichick said as much after a nice 27-17 win against Miami.
During the locker room speech at the end of the game, Belichick told the players that they were back to practice on Monday to prepare for Indy. Wednesday wouldn't cut it. That's how serious NE takes a matchup with the Colts. And I can tell you it's the same for the fanbase, too. The chatter on local Boston radio stations has been non-stop. It's much busier than any other matchup. Well, maybe an upcoming Jets game will get the blood boiling (I sooooo want to hang an L on Rex "pompous windbag" Ryan's face).
This is Sunday Night Football. This is cool stuff. This is Colts vs. Patriots. Does it get any better?