Peyton Manning's release from Indianapolis this past week was one of those major stories that you could almost see coming. Is it sad? Yes it is. In my opinion, Peyton Manning should not play for anybody but the Colts. But, Joe Montana shouldn't have played for anybody but the 49ers. Brett Favre shouldn't have played for anybody but the Packers. Joe Namath shouldn't have played for anybody but the Jets. Donovan McNabb,....well you get the idea. It's happened a lot over the years in the NFL, and it will happen again. This is the age old argument, is it a game? or is it a business? For those of you looking for the easy answer, here it is...IT IS BOTH.
The Indianapolis Colts are a business. Their team plays a game, and the players they employ play that game and in return for their play, they get paid. It is the players business too. The better they play the more they get paid. It works for everybody. During negotiations for salaries, it is a business for both sides. During the playing of the games, the pay isn't as important for the players, I truly believe they play to win. Thats when it's a game.
As a business, Peyton Manning was owed a 28 million dollar payment on a set date. He did not play a single down last season because of a neck problem. If he were healthy, and hadn't had at least 2 neck surgeries that we know about, he would have been paid, and Peyton retires into the sunset as a Colt. But, his neck injury makes him a very large question mark, especially with a 28 million dollar price tag. The Colts, as businessmen, could not take that kind of gamble with their franchise and it's future. So they chose to cut ties with the face of their franchise.
Peyton now sells his talents to the highest bidder. It's now a business to Peyton and the teams interested in him. His asking price is probably negotiable because his focus at this stage of his career is winning as opposed to salary. See, he's made plenty from the Colts over the years, and I imagine he's pretty well set financially, so his goals are getting to the team with the best chance of getting to a Super Bowl. These are business decisions Peyton is making.
I just hope and pray his Doctors are right, and his neck injury is healed so that big hits will not be a danger to his future life. From what I understand, the neck fusion is fine, but the nerve damage has caused a problem with Mannings arm strength. I hope he can play. I hope he plays well. More importantly, I hope he plays and stays healthy.
The Colts meanwhile, as businessmen, move forward and draft their next franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck of Stanford in April's draft. They do what they did all those years ago when Peyton Manning was coming out of Tennessee. They draft a franchise quarterback, build their franchise around him, and get rid of the guy they had there before him. Whoever was the starter in Indy when Peyton came in got released and went somewhere else. The same thing is happening now, only this time it's Peyton Manning who's going somewhere else.
By the way, the games will be played starting in August. They are still games. They are played by businessmen, who are paid by businessmen.