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Just My Take: Peyton Manning, Gandhi and Tim Tebow walk into a bar…

John Reidy Avatar
November 20, 2015


Just-my-take (1)“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.” –Mahatma Gandhi

“Tebow is awesome but I can’t stand the Jesus freaks who follow him.” – Broncos fans during the Tebow era

“Hey, you people burning John Elway in effigy. You know he’s more important to the Broncos than Peyton Manning will ever be right?” – People with a working frontal lobe

This is where we’re at guys. Peyton Manning fans have taken over the asylum. One player is more important than the team. And just because he’s a living legend, we are now expected to make exceptions for team success just because we don’t want to hurt his feelings.

Well, boo-fricking-hoo Pey-Pey.

Forgive me for not joining the chorus of woe and putting on a funeral veil for Peyton Manning. The NFL is coyly referred to as “Not For Long” because player’s careers are short, and their fame burns faster than a cheap bottle rocket. NFL careers are fleeting at best, while Manning has had a stellar one. But there will be no miracle comeback. There will be no late season resurgence because he is done. And the only people who can’t see that are his optically challenged fan base.

The argument du jour for Wednesday was stirred up in a column by Mark Kiszla in which he proclaimed John Elway craftily set Manning up for failure. It caused a firestorm of debate (one of Mr. Kiszla’s Hall of Fame qualities) where irrational Peyton Manning fans took up pitch forks and proclaimed Elway the devil for doing Peyton so dirty.

Sound familiar?

The same refrain was croaked out by Tim Tebow fans who were bitter that Elway had no need of Teeb’s services anymore. Remember those people? We were thrilled Tebow was gone simply because we didn’t have to deal with the dead-eyed disciples of the legend of Timmy anymore. Is that what it’s come to? The people crying about Elway being mean to Manning are just the newest iteration of the Tebowmaniacs but they’re twice as bad because they should know better.

And if we are to go on Mr. Kiszla’s premise that Manning was set up to fail, so what? Elway and Kubiak gave him the rope and he hung himself with it. He was given plenty of opportunities to claw his way back into form and he couldn’t do it. Maybe Kubiak hung him out to dry by letting him play in the Chiefs game because he knew it would be his death knell. But he also knew Manning wouldn’t pass up a chance to play. Thus providing what the front office needed: a reason. They gave him the rope, but he didn’t have to put it around his neck.

Manning is a likeable guy and it is sad to see him go out this way. But this is how it goes in professional sports. In fact, we’re reminded on a daily basis how cruel the business side of sports is when we see a player get cut, file for bankruptcy or just plain crash his life into a ditch. So there are far more humiliating things happening to players on daily basis than what is happening to Manning now.

But we’ve built him up so large in our minds that for him to stumble into retirement this way is a Hindenburg disaster way to end a career for most people. And for the person, I am truly sorry. He was a joy to watch and I wish he had a few more games left in his old body, but he doesn’t.

But for the player, I am not sorry. Players are told from an early age that it’s not about the name on the back, it’s about the name on the front that counts. Manning may have never learned this, but the fans certainly should have. The Broncos have been around long before Manning stepped onto the field and it will be around long after. It’s a downer to have it end this way, but if someone is truly a fan of a team first, they should brush this off like running over a squirrel in the road. Support the team, not an individual player. Sorry squirrel.

If Brock Osweiler plays well this Sunday, the anti-Elway chorus will again be blunted for the time being, but I can’t help but think the fans who have soured on the Broncos and its GM are nothing more than Tebowmaniacs 2.0. If Osweiler struggles, we’ll go around on this magic carousel once again and the Manning-ites, like the Tebow zealots before them, will poke their heads out of the ground long enough to figure out which jersey to buy next. If he was alive to assess the situation, a modern day Gandhi might say “I like your Broncos, but I don’t like your Manning fans.” But then again, he was always a Tebow guy.


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