So says Lombardi Tip to Bob M
Sunday, watching Peyton Manning play for the Colts, reminded me of my childhood. I realized that Manning is to the NFL, what Don McMahon was to three teenage kids’ summer card league. He shifts the competitive balance so far in his team’s favor that I’m now sure there has NEVER been a player like him in the league.
Manning makes throw after throw that leaves me speechless. (The completion to Austin Collie for 46 yards down the seam is in my top five throws of all time). He makes the right call or the right check, he is at home in the offense partly because it’s the only one he has known as a pro and he has been instrumental in creating it.
His dominance of his sport is Michael Jordanesque because, like Jordan once did in the NBA, Manning controls the entire game. Manning might not play defense, but his ability forces opposing offenses to alter their thinking — to adjust to the “Manning” factor. With Manning as the opponent, teams are living and dying on every play, hoping to tip one pass, hoping for one critical drop that can get the defense off the field. But it is all just hope, as there is never a plan to really stop Manning, at least not one I’ve seen.
The Jets had the No. 1 defense in the league in the regular season. The unit was brilliant in not allowing the big play, surrendering quick scores and playing well in the red zone. Sunday, the brilliance got “Manningized,” as he moved his team up and down the field with pinpoint passing and incredible play-calling ability. Had the Jets not played well in the red zone, allowing Manning just three scores in six appearances, the Colts might have hung 40 on them.
Manning is the most dominant player in the NFL right now — by a very large margin. As my Strat-O-Matic club had to develop the McMahon rules, the league might think about coming up with the Manning rules — now, you know I’m just kidding, but Sunday I was giving it some thought; he is that good.