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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    So Long, Peyton

    By Kyle | March 7, 2012

    Now that the Peyton Manning era has come to a frustrating end, paradoxically I’m not really a Colts fan anymore. Such is my respect for the man that I’m now a fan of whatever team he plays for next year, and this after 35 years of (admittedly irrational) cheering for the Colts, a vaguely cursed franchise that showed, I fear, its true colors this year in his absence. I couldn’t bring myself to root for the Patriots, but Manning won’t be playing there. I have nothing against the Chiefs, Titans or Dolphins and will be happy to root for them for the next couple of years as the Colts obviously won’t be Super Bowl contenders anyway for quite some time. I crave for Peyton his proper recognition as the greatest quarterback, and consequently the greatest player, in the history of the NFL and it appears that acknowledgment will not come unless he wins a second Super Bowl. I think he’ll pick the team that is most likely to do that, and that would be the Dolphins, the Jets or the Titans. I doubt he wants to work for a head case like Dan Snyder; indeed, I doubt he wants to play in the NFC.
    Colts owner Jim Irsay gave an emotional but illogical and self-contradictory press conference in which he alternately said money had nothing to do with the decision to cut Manning and the salary cap was a problem. Irsay released Manning because he didn’t want to risk $28 million on damaged goods, but he couldn’t bring himself to say that. Bill Polian just went on ESPN to point out that that payment only would have been damaging to the Colts this year–and an Andrew Luck-led Colts won’t be in the Super Bowl next year, whereas a Peyton-led Colts would have had a chance at it. The Colts aren’t really in a rebuilding situation; they were 14-2 two years ago and barely lost their only playoff game in 2010. They have improved their offensive line, their principal problem, since then, though you couldn’t tell in 2011 because Curtis Painter couldn’t take advantage of it.
    So Irsay should have simply paid the man what was owing and let Luck learn from the great man for the moment. This is a horrible day in Colts history, right up there with the most painful defeats, the day the franchise was forced to trade John Elway, the day Art Schlichter was drafted, etc.

    Topics: Sports | 8 Comments »

    8 Responses to “So Long, Peyton”

    1. Anwyn Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Hell, I’m from Indiana and I’m starting to consider jumping ship. I was accused already of only being a Peyton fan anyway, so … blah.

    2. Hedge Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      I bet Art has a wager on where Peyton goes….

    3. Mark Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Mark Sanchez can be iffy, but I doubt the Jets would trade or demote him to second string to make room for Manning while Sanchez is still in the middle of a 5-year, $50 million contract. That being said, I’d love Manning here in KC. He may only have a few years left, but I’ll take that over Kyle Orton or Matt Cassel. Granted, I figure the Dolphins or Titans are a more realistic destination. I have been quietly cheering for the Colts during the Manning era, and it’s sad to see that come to an end.

    4. Mr. Blonde Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Peyton play for the Dolphins. Henne is not the answer to their QB woes.

    5. yankeefan Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Kyle, you’re more than welcome to join our rather roomy, delapidated Gang Green bandwagon, should Peyton come out this way. (Here’s hoping.) Though wouldn’t the most likely place for him go to get his Super ticket punched be San Fran?

      BTW, I don’t like the karma with Indy’s move at all. Prediction: Curse of Manning.

    6. Robert P. Says:
      March 7th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      Kyle, as a Buffalo Bills fan I can sympathize with irrational heartbreak over a football team. Here is a fantastic article from grantland.com today that I think you could appreciate today:

      http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7654198/the-writer-sh*t-my-dad-says-why-your-team-give-damn-you

    7. Don Reed Says:
      March 8th, 2012 at 9:45 am

      “Irsay released Manning because he didn’t want to risk $28 million on damaged goods…”

      1) After Tony D. retired, the Dolts replaced him with an uninspiring, inert head coach. He is no longer with the team.

      2) They likewise failed to anticipate PM being sidelined.

      When the inevitable happened, last summer, then they had to run around at the last minute begging for a replacement. Their choice was a recently retired QB whose best days were long in the past.

      By the fourth game of the season, the Colts season was gone.

      As of yesterday, Payton is no longer with the team.

      3) Just about everyone else is no longer with the team.

      The “damaged goods” criteria perfectly sums up the value of the current Indy Colts management-ownership, honestly assessed at about, oh, maybe, $28,000. And that includes the stadium parking receipts.

      But if Indy fans want more football, they won’t have the option of eliminating “risk.”

      Pay up, dopes. Send your money to Mr. Irsay, the architect of a wonderful fiasco. And start saving for the next one, down the road.

    8. Robert P. Says:
      March 8th, 2012 at 10:06 am

      RE: Don Reed

      I agree with the Colts uninspiring hiring of Jim Caldwell. But you are off about the Colts being unprepared to find a replacement when Manning got hurt. Bill Polian is arguably the best GM in NFL history (built the Buffalo Bills 1990’s Super Bowl teams, took the expansion Panthers to the Conference Title game in their second season, built the Colts, etc.). He said in interviews that they always wanted to sign a capable back-up, but nobody ever would accept. A guy like Jon Kitna, for example, knows that there is no way in hell he can expect to ever see the field in Indy because the man in charge has played in 200+ straight games. Polian says that all of the quality back-ups want at least a CHANCE to see the field, and in Indy there was no chance. That is why they were forced to scramble at the last minute for a replacement when Peyton unexpectedly was seriously hurt.

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