The Peyton Manning sweepstakes captivated the NFL and all its fans for the past couple of weeks much like a mystery novel holds its reader as they try to figure out who is guilty and what are the motives involved. As the mystery played itself out, many of the actors in the storyline had solid motives to try to get Manning on their team, but there was one storyline that won out in the end.
For San Francisco, Manning would have been able to come in and instantly put that team in Super Bowl contention, barring injuries. They have the wideouts, the tight end, the running game and a stud defense, and yet, the main character never seemed to interested as San Francisco fell out of the race much quicker than many thought-or maybe it was the possibility of a power struggle with a head strong coach that seemed unattractive?
The Cardinals were a good fit many thought. Probably the best receiver in football, good defense, good head coach who can call plays effectively and, had taken a veteran quarterback just a couple of years ago who guided the team to the Super Bowl. However, the protagonist, yet again, decided the fit wasn’t right and informed them they should make a deal with the young gun they signed the previous year.
The Dolphins entered the scene with a new Head Coach and were a franchise who so longed for a quarterback who would remind them of their once great field leader. Sadly, there wasn’t a love connection and they quickly fell out of favor.
Finally, it came down to the protagonist’s history with the Titans putting on the full court press to get an interview and hopefully sign him-for he was once a rising star there who would lead his student cheer section in renditions of Rocky Top, but alas, it never came to fruition and there would be no reunion tour.
What has emerged in my mind, though, is a very dark picture of an antagonist who desperately wanted to move the young quarterback who had emerged as a large presence, but also was a rising star who would, and probably should, be the face of the franchise for years to come. An ex-running (mobile) quarterback who overcame early struggles to become one of the greats, was in a position to mentor a new style quarterback who thanked his Maker for all he had done along with his newly inspired teammates,and together they had risen and shocked the football world on talent and belief.
But the early reactions of the antagonist were his real beliefs about the young mans football abilities, and the day of the press conference when he introduced the veteran savior he showed what it was all about-him. Thanking the young man and saying he was the exact type person he wanted his daughter to marry was a clever masking of reality. One could see it in black and white-“he is a fine young man who just doesn’t have what it takes” was the presumed storyline. Or maybe it was his mechanics, his footwork, or the fact that he never thought the young quarterback could be a prototypical NFL Quarterback. Except the young man does have what it takes and has all along, but the mentor wanted to be rid of him, so, sadly, and I think deceitfully, the play for the veteran was not about seeking the game’s highest team accomplishment. It was for one a chance to ride into the sunset alongside a friend, and for the antagonist, it was a chance for him to be rid of his own albatross. An albatross who in reality was a much bigger person than himself.