J-E-T-S. Peyton Manning might be there next season.
My second post ever in this blog talked about the importance of Peyton Manning to the Indianapolis Colts: what is Manning’s WAR (wins after replacement).
The Indianapolis Colts went 2-14 without their star quarterback in 2011, only their second losing season since Manning’s rookie season in 1998. Arguably the best quarterback in the league, would the Colts be a playoff contending team had he not been hurt?
I think the Colts are a nine-win team this year with Peyton Manning, meaning Peyton Manning’s War would be around 7.0, guesstimating he is responsible for 44% of his team’s wins.
To put that in perspective, according to baseball-reference.com, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp led the MLB with a 10.0 WAR, meaning he was responsible for 6.2% of his team’s wins. Granted, there’s no one position in sports more important than a quarterback, but the distance between percentages is too big to ignore.
With that said, I disagree with the Colts’ shakeup this offseason. Head Jim Caldwell, Vice Chairman Bill Polian, and General Manager Chris Polian have all been fired this month. The front office looks at a 2-14 record, but what can you expect when arguably the best player in the league is sidelined for the season.
Now that the damage is done, Peyton Manning will be on another team next season. Manning disclosed his disappointment in candid and honest remarks made after the firings of the Polians. In a system where repetition and comfort were crucial to Manning’s success, I think we’ll find Manning asking for a trade sometime before or immediately following April’s draft. The Colts have already said they plan to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick.
Why not the Jets? A team with equal amounts of disunity and chaos, the Jets’ quarterback situation is in dire straits for a shake-up. Multiple players have called out Mark Sanchez for his work ethic and contentment, and after a disappointing 2011 campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets are in the running for Peyton Manning.
I think the Colts should have kept their front office and head coach, picked Andrew Luck, and let him observe Peyton Manning for two years. Let him spend some time in the “minor leagues.” Peyton has at least two years left, and it would have made for a smooth transition. Even if Peyton was flat out against tutoring Luck…Aaron Rodgers still turned out pretty well.