Peyton Manning: The End of an Era?

Discussion in 'J. B. Cash's Column' started by Don Wassall, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

    Sep 30, 2004
    Peyton Manning: The End of an Era

    by J. B. Cash

    With the release of QB Peyton Manning by the Indianapolis Colts an era has ended in modern football. Depending on how he does with his new team the move of Manning from the Colts is as significant as the day the New York Yankees traded Babe Ruth at the end of his career to the Boston Braves.

    Since Manning joined the Colts as the number one pick in the 1998 NFL Draft he has been on pace to rewrite the record books for the quarterback position, much as the Babe rewrote the record books for baseball.

    In his 14 seasons with the Colts, they won seven AFC South Championships, two AFC Championships, and won Super Bowl XLI, in which Manning was the MVP of the game. His four league MVPs are a record, and he has been named to eleven Pro Bowls, passed for more then 4,000 yards in 11 seasons, including a record six straight. His 54,828 yards and 399 TD passes are the second highest in NFL history behind only Brett Favre, who played into his early 40s. Manning was named the player of the first decade of the 2000s by Sports Illustrated.

    Perhaps Manning's worth can best be summed up by the fact that with him the Indianapolis Colts were a annual challenger for the Super Bowl and without him they were the worst team in football.

    Manning’s neck injury is considered serious enough that he is risking permanent damage by continuing to play, but for a man with his competitive drive, quitting while he can still play is out of the question.

    Peyton’s story is all the more interesting because of his family heritage. Peyton’s father Archie Manning was a superstar college QB who never quite lived up to the hype during his pro career with some pretty bad New Orleans teams. However the elder Manning found his calling in siring QB sons like a stud racehorse. Peyton and brother Eli are among a small elite of NFL QBs that can throw for 4K yards annually and carry a team to a championship on their backs.

    Manning is a great quarterback, arguably the best ever, but there is a well covered up secret why he has been able to amass such impressive numbers in his career. That well guarded secret: White receivers. The Colts -- apart from every other team in the NFL -- have sought out and played white players at the pass catching positions.

    It should be commonly accepted knowledge that White players are better pass catchers than black players. The sports media constantly tries to denigrate White receivers by referring to them as "possession receivers." However, in their attempt to insult and demean is the bare unvarnished truth. White players catch the ball or they don't play.

    The same cannot be said of black players. Black players are timed with a stop watch and then given chance after chance after chance to succeed. They can lead the league in drops. They can drop passes at the most inopportune times. They can miss their routes and rarely get open. But the racial politics of pro football and society in general does not allow for people to be honest about black shortcomings, especially when it comes to sports.

    So mixed in among the league leaders in receptions, among the 99% of black players forced into those positions, are those few White players that are "allowed" to play at receiver and tight end.

    The never ending artificial black dominance of the position that started over years ago continues in the face of horrible play by butter-fingered black receivers. Yes there are some black players that are great at catching passes, but does that mean that clumsy, inexplicably highly drafted black receivers with substandard hand-eye coordination deserve endless opportunities to play?

    No sports figure or announcer or writer can ever refer to a black player as "dumb" or else they will lose their job -- though White players are routinely negatively stereotyped, often inaccurately -- so they have also had to bite their lip and gloss over the poor play of black receivers who are getting millions of dollars to do the simple thing they have trouble at --- catch the ball.

    It is so ingrained in the minds of football people that they may no longer realize it. The few outspoken ones that might let slip a comment that touches on the truth have probably been weeded out long ago. Just as accused murderers like Ray Lewis and sociopaths like Michael Vick somehow morph into "leaders" and "spokesmen," so does the striking reality of many blacks' virtual incompetence at the receiver position get black-washed down the memory hole.

    No one asks the question: How can Peyton Manning have been so good if he had to throw passes to guys like Brandon Stokely, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, and Blair White? Those are players that would have never even seen a roster spot on virtually any other team (with the possible exception of Clark -- playing a White "acceptable" position of tight end).
    What magic does Peyton Manning put on the ball that so many White hands can catch it? What brilliant strategy did the Colts employ to be able to get White receivers open when practically no other team in the NFL believes it is possible?

    These are questions that should be burning in the great minds of NFL executives and commentators. No one of course asks it. They would probably punish themselves if they thought it. But it's a legitimate question. And then consider that the other great passing QB of the 21st century, Tom Brady, has also completed a large share of his passes to White players. And with Jordy Nelson leading his team in receptions as a virtual 2nd stringer in Aaron Rodgers high octane passing attack (despite his brilliant statistics in 2011, he was only "allowed" on the field for roughly 60 percent of Green Bay's offensive plays while Greg Jennings was on the field for every play when he was healthy) the REAL question is how do guys like Drew Brees manage to accumulate so much yardage while not having any of those types of players?

    Peyton Manning is considered a big influence in his team’s offensive strategy. That no doubt included which guys to play. When Peyton was working out recently he was throwing passes to Brandon Stokely and Dallas Clark. It can be argued that Peyton Manning, with his performance, has been the most White friendly influence in professional football in perhaps decades.

    Hopefully Peyton Manning chooses his next team wisely. With his obvious intelligence one feels that he will make the best decision possible. But no matter what happens in Peyton Manning's future he is well deserving of all of the accolades that have come his way. It is not hyperbole to acclaim him the greatest player of the modern era of football.
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