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This much I do know…….whenever they say it’s NOT about the money, it’s ALL about the money.  Following several career-threatening neck surgeries, Peyton Manning sat out last season (and received $23M while doing so).  Come March 8th, if Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay doesn’t cut him, Peyton Manning will be due the tidy sum of $28M as a roster bonus.

If Manning is cut, he will instantly become a free agent at 36.  He says he’s NOT retiring!  The Redskins, Browns, Seahawks, Jets, Dolphins, and yes the Tennessee Titans too are all waiting in the wings if the axe falls (I’m betting on the Dolphins since he owns a condo on South Beach Miami).  Peyton Manning’s doctors have cleared him to play, but Jim Irsay says the Colts’ doctors have not yet examined him.

As everyone knows the Super Bowl was just played in Peyton’s town and in the stadium that Peyton built.   However, coming into Super Bowl week, the big news was projected to be all about the rise of Peyton’s little brother Eli to the status of “elite” quarterback, the legendary Patriot duo of Brady and Belichick going after their 4th championship together, or perhaps the revenge factor from the 2008 Super Bowl that the Giants won over the Pats by three.  Irsay and Peyton both agreed prior to this week to postpone ALL discussions and media interplay until the week AFTER the Super Bowl.

So, what does Peyton Manning do first thing on Monday?…..schedule an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Trey Wingo announcing to the world how great he feels.  This was followed by Irsay’s incessant tweeting throughout the rest of the week.  Irsay has insisted, “I have no problems with Peyton”, as he keeps trying to put on a happy face for what has become an ugly public spectacle.  Apparently, a gentlemen’s agreement between two massive egos to shut their yaps doesn’t mean anything!  If they just BOTH would have kept their promise to hold off posturing until after the Super Bowl trophy is awarded.  I also happen to believe Peyton may in fact be a little jealous that his younger brother has a chance to double the number of rings he has.  What do you think?

Peyton Manning has received just about every conceivable NFL accolade.  He’s been the NFL MVP a record four times, gone to the Pro Bowl 11 times, voted the AFC Player of the Year six times, and won the 2007 Super Bowl.  He has passed for 399 TDs (3rd) and 54,828 yards (3rd), while completing 64.9% of his passes (4th).  In 2010, he was even named the 8th best player in NFL history!  The man is, or more appropriately WAS a legend.  However, given this lofty status and extraordinary popularity among all fans, I feel that he’s always remained a bit on the pouty side….before, during, and after tough losses or isolated failures on the field.  Based on his comments from Monday, he’s now set-up Irsay to be the “Bad Guy”, especially with Colt followers.

Even if Manning is “cleared” by Colt physicians, I seriously doubt he will ever be the same quarterback.  Just how much will he lose though?  Maybe 80% of Peyton Manning for a couple of years is worth something to somebody?  Somebody out there WILL pay him because he wants to keep playing.  But if I’m Jim Irsay, I bank my future on the two-time Heisman runner-up from Stanford and cut my losses with the old franchise QB.  Come on; join me in a chorus of Rocky Top one last time!

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