How Concerned Should Colts Fans Be About Peyton Manning’s Injury?

History tells us Peyton Manning will be fine. Every offseason the Colts’ franchise player has some sort of minor injury or minor procedure done and is back in time for the start of the regular season. After shaking off a little rust, Manning is always back to being Manning by week 4 if not sooner. Will that be the case this season, or is Manning’s neck injury more serious than we all assume?

We do know one thing: the Colts are at least searching for a veteran backup quarterback in case Manning is not ready by the start of the season.  In fact, Indy owner Jim Irsay is asking for the fans help in choosing which quarterback to sign.

“We r evaluating the QB sitch,#18 healing but we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!” Irsay wrote on Twitter.

“Not taking Pryor…what VET QB would u vote 4 to sign that’s out there? If sum1 has 2 hold the fort early season,who u going with?”

It is far from panic time.  Irsay is pretty much stating the obvious at this point considering Manning has not been cleared to play.  But with Curtis Painter as the team’s primary backup, Manning is as valuable today for the Colts as he ever was.  Peyton has been relatively healthy throughout his entire career, and we all know he’s not getting any younger.  Having a solid veteran backup is probably a wise idea.  Letting the fans help choose said backup?  Maybe not so much.

Peyton Manning Says He Doesn’t Need to be Highest-Paid Player in League

Peyton Manning is 35, recovering from neck surgery, and received the franchise tag. He’s instructed his agent and the Colts to get a new contract finalized before the season begins, and he’s publicly taking the pressure off them. Specifically, he’s saying that being the highest-paid player in the league is not a priority to him.

“While I appreciate Jim Irsay offering to make me the highest-paid player,” Manning told The Indianapolis Star, “I told him I’d rather he save that money and keep whoever it is . . . Joe Addai, Charlie Johnson, whoever that may be.

“I’m willing to take less than they’ve offered if they are going to take that money to keep players we need to keep and go get other players. All I want is for them to have the cap and the cash to keep the players they want to keep and to sign other players.”

Given what teams like the Eagles have done in free agency and what the Patriots have done with trades, he better have that attitude. The Colts are falling behind some of the other contenders in the league and they need to have all the flexibility possible to improve. It’s also no surprise why Peyton wants a deal done immediately. Not only does he not want a contract distraction, but I’m sure the combination of his age and neck injury has left him uncertain about his future. He needs get that financial commitment now before it’s too late.

Alex Rodriguez Presents Peyton Manning for No. 2 on NFL Network’s Top 100 List

Football fans who dislike baseball, the Yankees, or Alex Rodriguez, had an unwelcome surprise when they tuned into the finale of NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list. None other than A-Rod was involved in the production, presenting Peyton Manning for second on the list.

Of all the complaints about the list (was it a lifetime list or based on last year’s performance?), the biggest complaint I have was allowing a disliked baseball player to present football commentary on an important list. Admittedly, I like to see as little of A-Rod as I need to just because there’s so much about him that bothers me, but why was he involved with the show?

As A-Rod began to present Manning for No. 2 on the list, the answer was clear: the parallels between the two players’ careers are similar. Both players have won multiple regular season MVP awards but have failed repeatedly in the postseason. They’re the chokers stat geeks love to own in fantasy leagues and the players true fans love to rip for their playoff shortcomings.

“Anytime Peyton Manning is on TV you want to sit on your couch, get some popcorn, get a nice pop and watch him for three hours because it’s really a treat to watch,” Rodriguez said about Manning. “I think his preparation shows out there on the field every Sunday on how much better prepared he is than everybody else.”

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Peyton and Eli Manning in Football Cops DirecTV Trailer (Video)

We’ve heard about a “Football Cops” show Peyton and Eli Manning have been filming for DirecTV, but we don’t know much else about it. Is it a real show? Is it just something humorous to get fans ready for the NFL season (if it does happen)? Judging from the website, it looks like there may be three episodes of the show. We really have no idea what it’s all about, but I do know that this trailer courtesy of Eye on Football is hilarious:

Between Peyton’s mustache and Eli’s fu manchu, it doesn’t get much better than that. Actually, the only Manning brothers spoof that can compare is this. Mike Tahoe and C.J. Hunter, coming to save a neighborhood near you!

Peyton Manning Says He’s Tanked His Baseline Concussion Test

As the medical field continues to learn more about the harmful effects of concussions, sports leagues are becoming increasingly concerned about players suffering the injuries. The NFL became more sensitive to concussions last season, holding concussed players out of games who typically would have played in the past. But one issue raised by Alex Marvez last week is that some players could try to fudge their medical exams so they can play. One strategy to beat the test he wrote about was using ritalin to improve focus in concussion tests. Another is by tanking their baseline exam, which is something Peyton Manning admitted to doing.

Pro Football Talk pointed out that in a recent interview Peyton said he purposely does bad on his baseline exam. “They have these new [brain] tests we have to take. Before the season, you have to look at 20 pictures and turn the paper over and then try to draw those 20 pictures. And they do it with words, too. Twenty words, you flip it over, and try to write those 20 words. Then, after a concussion, you take the same test and if you do worse than you did on the first test, you can’t play. So I just try to do badly on the first test.”

Whether Peyton was joking is for you to decide, but this is no laughing matter. Marvez had said players were already trying to cheat concussion tests and Peyton’s comments support that sentiment. I’m not sure how to police that other than by developing a new test, but I’ll say what I’ve said before: if players want to screw up their first test on purpose and end up with scrambled eggs for brains, that’s their issue. You just hope they’d be wise enough and thinking long-term enough not to do that. At least that’s my hope.

Rex Ryan: Peyton Manning Studies More, Has Less Coaching Help than Tom Brady

One of the great sports bar debates of our era involves the top quarterbacks in football: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. Pats fans of course go with Brady all day, while Colts (and Saints) fans will argue they prefer Peyton. Most people either prefer one to the other, or oscillate in the debate based on who’s having the better season. I’ve always put stats aside and said I prefer Brady, with his incredible 2007 and 2010 seasons proving the case. If you ask Rex Ryan for his pick, it’s obviously Peyton Manning.

The bloviating Jets coach took time out of his busy foot rubbing schedule to explain why Peyton is better than Tom:

“Nobody studies like [Manning]. I know [Tom] Brady thinks he does and all that stuff,” Ryan said. “I think there’s probably a little more help from [Bill] Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning.”

“He’s not just a coach on the field,” Ryan said. “You give the coaching community too much credit. This guy is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game, and he’s one of the smartest guys. And it’s not just a coach dialing up plays. He dials his own plays.”

Rex was answering a question about how gifted Peyton is and introduced the Brady comparison without prompting. That’s sure to tick off Patriots fans who watched Tom light up the Jets for 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-3 butt-whipping week 13. I suppose it’s not surprising to hear Rex knock Tom; the two got into it before the season started after Tom said he hated the Jets and Rex responded saying the feeling was mutual.

Now that the stakes have been raised, I know I’m not alone in hoping that a Patriots-Jets playoff game comes up. All we need is a Jets upset of the Colts to see it happen. Can Rex take care of business first?

Colts’ Ninth Straight Playoff Appearance on the Line

The Indianapolis Colts have missed the playoffs just twice with Peyton Manning as their quarterback — in his rookie season of 1998 and in 2001.  They are currently riding a streak of eight straight playoff appearances, but that streak is in serious jeopardy today as they face the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts lost a heartbreaker to the Jags in Week 4 on a Josh Scobee field goal as time expired.

Sundays game is a must-win for the Colts. If they lose, their playoff hopes will be shot, and contract negotiations with Manning may have to start a little sooner. If they beat the Jags, the two teams will have identical overall winning percentages and divisional winning percentages — the first two NFL playoff tie-breakers. The third tie-breaker — winning percentage in common games — would give the edge to the Colts. Each team has one game remaining against an opponent the other has already beaten, so as long as the Colts win out the Jags can’t catch them. After today’s game, neither team has a game remaining against a playoff contender.

The Colts have already seen their streak of seven consecutive 12-win seasons snapped, and surely don’t want to lose this one too. They may not win out, but I can’t imagine they will lose today — at home, with their playoff lives on the line — though Manning has been less-than-spectacular in playoff games. That’s what this game today is for the Colts. Win and your still alive. Lose and we’ll see you next year.