Peyton to Denver

Yesterday, Chris Mortensen reported that Peyton Manning had given his agent permission to start negotiating with the Denver Broncos, thus signaling the start of the end of one of the most publicized and media-obsessed free agent signings in the history of sports. I admit I followed the saga every single step of the way with interest. However, I would be lying if I said I did not start to tire of the constant coverage in the waning days.

Call me no fun, but when Peyton Manning and John Elway were the lead story for numerous sports broadcasts and sports radio programs last week over the NCAA Tournament, I knew that enough was enough. I desperately wanted Manning to make a decision. I would never blame Peyton himself for basking in the spotlight for too long though because anyone with a brain knows that was never his intention. All that he wanted to do was make the absolute best decision for himself…he earned that right.

This was not a Brett Favre type deal here. Peyton Manning handled the rejection from his beloved franchise with class. He stated all along that he wanted to continue to play football. He didn’t retire and come back, he didn’t send out ambiguous text messages, he didn’t go back to some rural area and throw passes to high school students, he didn’t need the Denver Broncos team to go out and kidnap him and fly him in a private jet to Colorado. He did not play games. Rather, he went about his business and listened to a few potential teams that he had an interest in playing for and made a decision. Simple as that.

I laughed yesterday and today at the media and others who said Peyton did not make the best decision in his choice of who to play for. How can anyone say that? First off, how can anyone say they know what is better for someone than that actual person? Secondly, how can anyone second guess the decision making of Peyton Manning? This guy has made millions and millions of dollars off of his decision making skills, both on the field with his play and off the field with his lucrative endorsement deals. Peyton Manning is legendary for his intelligence and reasoning. Also, none of these people questioning his decision sat down at the meetings with the various teams who Peyton talked to. They had no idea what was discussed and what Manning learned for himself through the talks. In my mind, I see him at these meetings acting like some sly police interrogator, picking the brain of each team executive with calculated and tough questions, knowing when to jump in with the follow up and knowing when to just keep quiet and make the execs elaborate. I have no doubt that Peyton came out of this process with all of his questions answered and with a 100% personal conviction on where he wanted to go.

Peyton Manning knows what he has in front of him in Denver. There is no doubt he is feeling the pressure. I mean when you sign a $96 million dollar contract how can’t you? He also knows the expectations. Surely if an unqualified, unorthodox, step child quarterback can lead your new team into the second round of the playoffs the year before you got there than winning the Super Bowl in your first go-around must be more than attainable, right? See what I mean? I think that is the main reason why Manning did not go to San Francisco, he knew it was Super Bowl or bust as the 49ers had already gone to the NFC Championship game this past season. Anything the same or less than that would be a disappointment. But again, I don’t know if the expectations are going to be much different in Denver.

I am more than excited to see Peyton Manning in a new uniform in a totally different environment. I admit, I am still having trouble truly grasping the sight of him in Bronco blue (the ESPN shots of players in their future/prospective team uniforms are bogus and corny…they look so altered) but I will get used to it. I am really intrigued to see how he will manage with new players, new coaches, and a new system. I think also what people have to realize is that Peyton has been out of the league for a full year. How is he going to come back from that? Rusty? Same as old? What if his injury has not fully healed? What if he is just not the same Peyton Manning? It will be very interesting to see these scenarios unfold. Make no mistake about it, John Elway is taking a gamble here. Remember, just because you make a good bet does not that it will always pay off…it is still a gamble.

Of course the secondary story in all of this is Tim Tebow. If you have read any of my past posts on Tebow, you know I will be rooting for him. One day this guy is going to have a movie done on him and some studio is going to pay billions of dollars for the rights to make it. What he has overcome is nothing short of amazing and for something like this to come up now just makes you feel for the guy. The Broncos did nothing wrong in acquiring Peyton Manning, they did everything that any fan that is worth a damn would want their organization to do. But under the major victory and triumph that this signing means for the Denver Broncos there is the cruel irony and rotten luck that has fallen on Tebow. Can the guy get a break? I really hope the media cuts him a little bit of slack. If the past couple of days are any indication though, they won’t. Tebow bashing amongst the media is as prevalent as it was at the beginning of the NFL season. Please, just give it a rest and treat the guy fairly.

I am happy for Peyton Manning that after the Colts cut him loose he went about his search and did it on his own terms. I am also happy that he got a fat pay day. The guy is a winner and I am a fan of his. I do hope though that now that he has selected his team and has signed the contract that everything dies down a little bit. Let’s concentrate on the Sweet Sixteen and all the other sports that are actually in-season right now.  However…Denver Broncos fans… have my permission to party like crazy all the way throughout the offseason. Don’t Blink.

All He Does Is Win…But He Still Gets No Respect

Today, along with what seemed like the rest of the nation, I watched as the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. Of course, the story of the game was Tim Tebow. With all of the insane hype and coverage that followed him during the entire regular season, it all seemed to reach the ultimate boiling point this afternoon as he played in a playoff game that many had christened as his “do or die game.” Well, in the middle of the spotlight during the last game of the Wild Card weekend Tebow shined.
I have said over this platform before, I am a Tim Tebow fan. I started to really root for him after his famous speech following the Ole Miss loss in 2008. After following him for the 2008 and 2009 college seasons I really hoped he would get a decent shot in the NFL. After he got selected in the draft and I watched “Tim Tebow: Everything In Between”, I knew I was going to hope for nothing but success when he started his NFL career. If you have never seen that documentary before, honestly youtube it, I rank it as one of the best sports documentaries I have ever seen. As he began his NFL career and I saw what he was up against from fellow players/coaches/front office people in the league along with the media, he had my support.
So as you can probably guess, I am relishing in TT’s success while also smiling at all the different people and entities who are hating it.  I love it how all my friends who hate Tebow have to throw their hands in the air and wonder how he did it again. I love reading all of the posts on Twitter and Facebook from various users complaining that they are going to have to hear nothing but “Tim Tebow” for the next week. Most of all, I love it how various sports media personalities have to grudgingly cover him for six more days and continue to dissect his game. That is what this post is mainly for, to laugh at the media and ask if they can finally start to give TT a little bit of respect.
Pretty much ever since 2008 when there was talk about Tebow’s chances in the NFL, the sports media, and I am going to single out ESPN especially, has had an obsession about how he would impact the league.  For the most part, it has all been negative. For the most part, it is still negative.  Believe me, if Tebow never produced on the field then of course I would understand that there would be mostly unflattering coverage on him. It doesn’t matter if it is politics, music, writing, or sports…if you don’t perform you are not going to receive positive reviews. But Tebow has produced. I don’t think there is a single person who could take an oath and say they believe that he has been treated fairly by the media.
The season started and the media said he was a waste. The season started, Orton got hurt, and Tebow came in relief and showed great potential…the sports world said the Broncos needed to make a move and bring in a replacement quarterback, that Tebow could definitely not continue on in the season. TT then took the Broncos on a great ride, guiding them on a winning streak and to a top spot in the AFC West. The media discounted it as a fluke and as an unconventional style experiencing initial success that will soon taper off. Then the three game skid occurred and it started to rain down on Tebow. Fast forward to today and 300+ passing yards later and a playoff victory under his belt and I still really don’t anticipate much acclaim for #15 when the media reflects on everything tomorrow morning.
Now I know Tebow has Skip Bayless in his corner but other than that, he really has little support or respect from the media. My biggest issue with this is the lack of a chance that was ever given to Tebow and the ignorance that has followed it. I watch/listen/read to what people say about Tebow and I really can’t believe that they will not take a step back, recognize what Tebow has done, give the guy some credit, and then maybe admit that they were wrong.  But I am competent enough to realize that media personalities have egos and they are not going to fess up to a mistake they have made. I think Tebow would probably have to win a couple of Super Bowls for that to happen.
I am hoping for great things on Saturday night as the Broncos take on the Patriots in New England. Denver is already a +13.5 underdog in the game but with Tim Tebow leading the way you never know. Don’t Blink.

A Little Bit of NBA, NFL, and MLB

Tonight, all three major American professional sports leagues are very relevant for vastly different reasons. The National Basketball Association (NBA) just announced they are canceling the first two weeks of their regular season, the National Football League (NFL) is prospering as usual in the first quarter of the season, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is in the midst of their league championship series.
For tonight’s post I want to take some time to briefly talk about all three leagues.
NBA: First Two Weeks of the Regular Season Canceled
I am not a huge fan of the NBA. The playoffs do entertain me and I love the storylines and rivalries that develop but as for the regular season I could care less. An eighty-two game season is way too long. With so many teams making the playoffs and with the way so many of the league’s players take it easy for the first three quarters of the season, there is just little reason to watch. I even get bored with Sportscenter highlights of the games. Honestly, show me the sickest dunks of the night and that is all I need.
You listen to sports talk radio or watch any of the shows on ESPN and a lot of the on-air talent will say that a shortened season for the NBA is a good thing. They will say that a fifty game season would be the perfect situation because each game will mean more, the players will compete harder, and the boredom and tired routine of an NBA season that lasts from October until June will lessen.
Well here is the thing. Even though I said I am bored by the regular season and even though many sports personalities feel a shortened season is what the league needs, I would still wish that the NBA would get their full eighty-two game schedule in. Any team that wins a championship with a shortened season is always going to have an asterisk by its name. Luckily for the Spurs, they went on to win more championships after they won the NBA shortened title during the 1998-1999 season, because to this day that championship is still a joke. No one takes it seriously.  Whenever you talk about what the Spurs have done in the past thirteen years you basically say they have won three NBA Championships and a lockout shortened championship in 1998-1999. Announcers always note it. We are not speaking metaphorically here, there is an actual asterisk after the Spurs name during the 1998-1999 season in the record book. It sucks. No matter how you slice it, winning a championship based on a fifty game season is much different than winning one off of an eighty-two game season. I hate it when records/achievements/ are tainted, even when the player/team can do absolutely nothing about it.
NFL: Let’s Start Tebow!!
Speaking strictly as a fan, I want to see Tim Tebow start the rest of the season for the Broncos, or at least for the next several games. I will admit it, I think pretty highly of Tebow. I think he is a great athlete and role model who has an incredibly exciting style of play. From the pure marketing aspect of things, he is a dream for the Denver Broncos. Even if Josh McDaniel made one of the worst talent selections in NFL history by bringing Tebow aboard, I think he has already paid off immensely for that organization in terms of jersey sales and in making the Denver organization relevant in the league on a weekly basis. If leveraged strategically by the team throughout the rest of his stay in Denver, I really think drafting him will pay off in the long run even if he is a total bust player wise.
Tim Tebow energized that team yesterday. Yes, I get it, San Diego did not gameplan for Tebow, they were ready for Orton. If Tebow was named the starter, you sure as hell could bet that the geniuses (aka NFL Defensive Coordinators) would implement a scheme that would drop him dead in his tracks. But what is wrong with making sure that this is 100% the case? Let’s end this debate that continues every single day through the sports media, among fans, and inside every locker room in the NFL: Is Tim Tebow an NFL quarterback?  Let it unfold right in front of us all. What gripping sports television that would be!  John Fox has a tough decision to make. Out of all the idiots who chime in on whether they feel Tebow is ready or not to start at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Coach Fox knows best. He has seen his quarterback contingent take every snap from training camp until now. He knows who will be the most successful. For my own selfish desires and for the chance to settle this debate for good, I just want to see Tebow under center come October 23rd.
MLB: My Wish for the World Series
The playoffs started off for me on kind of a sour note. Although I am not a Boston Red Sox fan, I wanted to see them beat out the Tampa Bay Rays and get into the post season. The playoffs are just better with both Boston and New York in it. Well, that did not happen. Once the post season matchups were set, I was crossing my fingers for a Yankees-Phillies World Series. Again, I was disappointed. Although disappointed, I can’t say I was not pleased with the competitiveness and excitement of all the division series. Baseball has had a great couple of weeks with how the regular season ended and how the division series went and I hope it continues until the final out of the Fall Classic.
With that said, I want to see the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals battle it out in the World Series. I got to see Detroit play a couple of games in Pittsburgh this summer and I guess I kind of want  to say I saw the MLB World Champions play in person from the front row. I shouldn’t hold my breath as they are in an 0-2 hole to Texas but you never know what can happen. The series shifts back to Detroit and if the Tigers protect their home field it will be a whole new ballgame.
I could actually care less about who wins the National League Championship, I just don’t know if I am completely ready to see Milwaukee in the World Series. With St. Louis you got a hall of fame manager (Tony LaRussa) and a hall of fame player (Albert Pujols) carrying the banner of that team. I want to see those people on baseball’s biggest stage, it just seems right. With that series now tied at 1-1, I like the Cardinals’ chances.
The drama, the parallels to life, and the competitive spirit of sports will always have me hooked. You never know what is going to happen next. Don’t Blink.