On April 11, 2011, on USA Network’s “WWE’s Monday Night Raw,” fans of World Wrestling Entertainment witnessed the end of an era. One can call it the “Era of Awesomeness, ” the “Rated R Era, ” or “The Era of the Ultimate Opportunist.” Whichever era you want to call it, what many fans saw, even though if some read the tea leaves, it was rumored to be happening quite soon, was the shocking retirement of 11 time World Champion Edge (real name: Adam Copeland) due to neck problems.
It was a tough pill to swallow for many of Edge’s fans, such as myself. It is hard to say goodbye to a star that has been with a company so long. It is as he has always been there. It is hard to believe that one of the greatest wrestlers to ever put on the tights will no longer grace the squared circle. Even his impending induction on March 31st into the WWE Hall of Fame doesn’t make his loss any easier as he had more to give as far as great matches. However, both he and WWE have to move on.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Fast forward nearly 11 months to the day as one of the greatest quarterbacks to put on the chinstraps, Peyton Manning, who ironically like Edge, had some recent neck issues, was released today by the only NFL team he has ever known and played for, the Indianapolis Colts. He had a nice, classy press conference today and was very emotional. It had to be, considering he played for the Colts for 14 years.
My editor, Eric Garigiulo already blogged about which teams he thinks could land Manning in his blog http://camelclutchblog.com/ten-destinations-for-peyton-manning/. I was not going to go in that direction anyway, but I am just going to write some general observations and feelings about Peyton, so here goes.
I admit, I am not a huge fan of Peyton’s. However, I do admit that he is an incredible QB. There was the whole comparison game being played amongst the experts between Manning and Ryan Leaf in the 1998 draft. The Colts had the #1 pick. The team’s GM at the time, Bill Polian had a huge decision, and fortunately for the Colts, he picked Peyton. The Chargers got stuck with Ryan Leaf. I say “got stuck,” because I think most NFL fans know what kind of QB Leaf wound up being. Of course, on the bright side, the Chargers eventually got LaDananian Tomlinson through the draft.
Anyway, Peyton’s rookie season didn’t go over so well, with the team going 3-13. However, the next year, the team went 12-3, and I think just about every Colt fan, and NFL fan knows the rest. The man is in the Top 5 or so in many statistics. He eventually broke Dan Marino’s Seasonal TD Record, only to have his record broken in 2007 by his NFL rival, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (50). Peyton is a Super Bowl MVP in his (so far) sole Super Bowl win of out two appearances. Manning also is a four time NFL MVP. He is arguably the best regular season QB with the only blemish, if you want to call it that, on his record is that he is 9-10 in the playoffs. As he plans to continue his career, it will be exciting to see what more he can accomplish.
Peyton Manning’s NFL rivalry with Patriot’s QB Tom Brady is legendary. The two have had great games against each other in the regular season, and in the playoffs. Two games in particular stand out, with Peyton’s Colts winning both. It was the AFC Championship game where Peyton Manning, despite hurting his thumb, brought his team back in the second half from an 18 point deficit. It was a great game by both teams.
A critical play in the game that help turn the tide was when Patriots WR Reche Caldwell had hands of stone on this one crucial 3rd down play late in the game, and dropped a perfectly thrown ball by Brady. Had he caught it, it would have been a TD or a first down. It was very unfortunate for the Patriots, but that is not to take away from Peyton’s leadership. He just marched the Colts down the field, and brought his team back and lead them to the win and to the Super Bowl over the Bears.
The other game, which I attended, was the infamous “4th and 2” game on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Lucas Oil Stadium is gorgeous. It is one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been in. I loved how it is laid out, and everything. The Colts fans there were so super nice to me too, and didn’t give me too hard a time. Anyway, I had seen several of the very good to great quarterbacks play in person. I have seen: Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Farve, and Tom Brady. I had yet to see Peyton Manning play before. Well, this game was Peyton vs Tom on Sunday Night Football. What could be better?
Well, the game was fantastic. Both men are incredible QBs. They are fantastic in how they run their offenses. Brady, I already knew was amazing. Peyton however, was really remarkable. Even watching him barking out signals, and doing his gyrations, I was so impressed with his command of the offense. He throws such a great ball too. Again, he brought the team back from an 18 point deficit, and I wish the outcome were different, but Peyton was awesome. I also realize that I was very blessed and honored to have been sitting in that stadium watching two living legends going at it.
As for his parting from the Colts, I am sad about it. I am so used to him in that blue home jersey, and in that all white away jersey. I mean, as I said, I am not a huge fan of his, but I respect what he has done for the NFL and for the Colts. I am still in a bit of a state of shock. I mean, I knew that this day was coming, but when it does, I admit it is hard to accept. I wish the two sides could have worked it out and he could have stayed. It will be very hard to see him in another uniform.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]I do hope and pray that he thinks about his HEALTH. I understand he wants and plans to play next year, but he has had four neck procedures, and he has a wife and twins to think about. I know people want to see him play, but all he needs is that ONE hit, and that’s all she wrote. Like the WWE doctors told Edge, he was one awkward bump away from paralysis or death. I just hope that Peyton is doing the right thing.
Peyton. Thank you for the memories as a Colt. Good luck with your next team and God Bless.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead