Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 48 hours, you’ve probably come to the realization that Peyton Manning is not a very happy camper. Manning’s candid, but depressing perspective from Bob Kravitz really hit home for a lot of fans.
The new era in Indianapolis is definitely more than just some firings.
Like with Kravitz, Manning’s somber attitude and frustration carried over to another Monday interview with Judy Battista of The New York Times.
While reflecting on his little brother’s stellar 2011 campaign, Peyton compared his connection with Tom Moore to that of Eli and Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. He made it clear that Moore had no business in being banished from the team.
"There’s a reason Eli and Gilbride have been together for so long, because Gilbride has called good plays and Eli has played well. Me and Tom Moore earned the right to stay together. It’s a compliment to Eli and Gilbride. If you call good plays and it’s working, they shouldn’t want to fire you."
My translation: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Oh, and the Polians effed up.
Now with the Polians replaced, Manning has seen every other connection to his past given their walking papers, with the exclusion of Clyde Christensen. The fact that Christensen remains with the team is strange, yet a decent sign for Manning. It’s possible – unless he's been granted some protective order of his job for Manning – that Chuck Pagano will ultimately do away with the coordinator for his own choice though.
To finish up, Manning echoed his thoughts and expressed a little relief in watching his brother play in the NFC Championship.
"It’s a strange time around here, with all the coaches getting let go," Manning said. "I guess that’s somewhat normal for a lot of teams, but it hasn’t happened around here much. I’ve been in the facility every day rehabbing, and everybody in the building is walking around on eggshells because nobody knows who is going to get fired next.
"It’s not the kind of environment you like to be in. It was fun to get out of town."
I’m no modern day Nostradamus, but in my opinion, the writing is on the wall, as Phil B. also admits. After remaining an optimist, I’m beginning a transition to the belief that Manning likely played his last down of football in a Colts uniform last January. Of course, my optimism might not be your view of optimism.
You may want this to be true.
Manning is in a reflective state and as Kravitz described him, a "man at peace with his future." The framework of his legendary career has been totally uprooted and cast to the wind for fresh faces and ideas. Therefore, finishing his career in Indy will have to defy the growing odds and it's not looking good.
In all honesty, and like some have suggested, a new destination might just be the best thing for the all-time great. Not surprisingly, teams are already letting him know they will be ready to sign him if and when he's available. A healthy Manning won't have any trouble (duh) finding a great place to win another ring. And here or there, he will still be starting over with a totally new regime. The only thing that Manning and the Colts will have in terms of continuity is maybe Christensen, Jeff Saturday, and a similar receiving core.
2012 will ring in a new phase of his career, regardless.
And so far, I’m happy with the development of our new era. It was time to change the direction of this franchise and shake things up. I’m all for that and I'd love to see Pagano, Ryan Grigson, and Andrew Luck (RG3, anyone?) turn into the next legends of Colts lore.
All we can do is talk about what might happen in the coming weeks, but here's what I do know: I will always remain a Peyton Manning fan and loyalist. If he wants to finish his career here, he's earned the right. But if it turns out that #18 and the Colts are no longer destiny, the sun will still rise and we will all still loathe the Patriots.
It’s just going to take some getting used to AND a lot of faith in the new kid on the block.