The drama that surrounded Peyton Manning’s departure from the Indianapolis Colts was a story arc fit for a soap opera. His multiple neck surgeries forced him to miss the entire 2011-12 season, which subsequently helped send the Colts into a downward spiral, that resulted in a league-worst 2-14 record. As the domino’s fell into place, the Colts ended up with the top overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft, and were forced with an incredibly tough decision.
It’s hard to think that almost exactly a year ago, Manning had a teary-eyed press conference upon his exit from Indianapolis, thanking the fans and the franchise for letting him be their quarterback. For over a decade, there was little doubt that Manning would retire as an Indianapolis Colt. Not only was Manning the face of the franchise, he was one of the most iconic figures in the NFL. It took the perfect storm of odd occurrences to make the present situations possible for the Colts and the Denver Broncos.
Fast forward to present day, and Manning is preparing to lead the Broncos in a divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens took down the upstart Colts in the wildcard playoff round last week, and now it’s up to the former Colts captain to retire Ray Lewis, and lead his new team to the AFC Championship game. Indianapolis fans should feel good that they still have a dog in the fight. Yes, if the Colts had beaten the Ravens, then this divisional game in Denver would have a much different feeling to it. As it stands now, fans of Manning and of the Colts can rest with the knowledge that at least they still have a chance for someone to defeat the Ravens, Houston Texans, and New England Patriots.
Perhaps Indianapolis fans weren’t quite ready to see the new Colts up against their former team captain. Fans will get that match-up next season, when Manning and the Broncos are scheduled to travel to play in Indianapolis. For now, even though it’s tough to see Peyton doing pizza commercials in a butt-ugly orange jersey, a victory for Manning is still a small victory for fans of the Indianapolis Colts.