It was an eventful first Sunday of the NFL football season. The 49ers took out the Packers in Lambeau in what might’ve been a preview of this season’s NFC Championship game, RG3 looked like the real deal in his first professional start as the Redskins upset the Saints, the new look Bears offense dominated the Colts and เว็บแทงบอลปลอดภัย ufabet ruined the dawn of the Andrew Luck era in Indianapolis, everyone’s preseason darling the Seattle Seahawks came up short against the Cardinals, and the Jets whacked the revamped Bills in a game that saw Mark Sanchez shine and Tim Tebow fade into the background.
All of these games occurred earlier in the day before what many considered the marquee matchup of Week 1, that being the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Denver Broncos in a Sunday night tilt that featured the return of Peyton Manning.
I was never an Indianapolis Colts fan per se, but as the years passed I began to appreciate more and more all the little things that Manning brought to the table every week to help his team win games. From practically his first day in Indy he fit the mold of what a franchise quarterback should be – reliable, durable, accurate, polished, studious, and most importantly, a winner. Manning’s stats speak for themselves, and he will likely retire as the best regular season QB the game has ever known.
The Colts imploded without him in 2011, falling to 2-14 and leading one to wonder how they seemed to stack up ten plus victories like cordwood (Scott Lillie™) each season Manning was under center. The sad truth is that Eli’s big brother hide a lot of deficiencies in Indy, serving as the de facto offensive coordinator on the field by calling out plays and line formations, and routinely turning good receivers into great ones and great receivers into future Hall of Famers.
He was delegated to the sidelines last year after experiencing a setback following offseason neck surgery, and though the NFL kept chugging along and we witnessed a great regular season, playoffs, and Super Bowl, it definitely felt weird without No. 18 on the field. It’s almost as if he had become a part of the game’s subculture; not only because of his play on the field but also his all-encompassing presence off of it. During my lifetime I can’t think of a more marketable athlete outside of Michael Jordan, as he has made a second career and brought in new fans with his entertaining commercials and easy demeanor.