The issue: Peyton Manning’s success in Denver.
Our view: Appreciate his 13 years in Indianapolis and wish him the best.
Longtime Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning nearly won a fifth NFL most valuable player award Saturday. Instead, the first-year pilot of the Denver Broncos won the league’s comeback player of the year.
“I used to always say this was an award I never wanted to have, because it meant having a significant injury and missing some time,” Manning said during the NFL Honors Awards Show Saturday night. “... I’m grateful to be back playing the game.”
Manning missed the entire 2011 season with the Colts because of four neck surgeries. This season, he threw 37 touchdowns and led the Broncos to a 13-3 record.
It was a long journey in a short amount of time.
Watching Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning choke back emotion as they announced last March the football star wouldn’t return, we felt sorrow and regret. We thought he might never play at such a high level again.
Like the owner of an old hunting dog, we’d wished we could see Manning run the field one more time in blue and white. We thought about what might’ve been, had we known the 2010 season was his last with the Colts.
We would’ve attended a practice or two at Anderson University that summer. We would’ve asked our friends over more often for Sunday afternoon games. We would’ve made an effort to appreciate what will be known as the golden age of Colts football.
But we’re happy for Manning’s newfound success in Denver, and appreciative of the memories he left us.
• The AFC Championship game in 2007, when Manning engineered 32 second-half points to beat New England, 38-34.
• The Monday night game at Tampa in 2003, when Manning led the Colts to a 38-35 win in overtime. The Colts trailed the Buccaneers 35-14 with just 4 minutes to play.
• The 29-17 victory over Chicago in Super Bowl XLI.
Off the field, Manning might’ve been even better. He added his name and money to many charities. He introduced even casual football fans to the positive side of a pro sports franchise.
Decades from now, Colts fans will look back at the Manning years as the team’s best — a 13-season span we’ll tell our grandchildren about.
“You should’ve seen them when Peyton Manning played,” we’ll say.
Boy, that dog could hunt. Still can.