Sunday, January 22, 2006

Let your boys grow up Archie

Today I am speaking as a sports commentator. When I say I am speaking in that vein, I am speaking as someone who has had over six years of experience in real sports media and radio. I want to clarify that because what I am going to say in here is going to get me roasted by some of you in this town where, by certain people, Peyton Manning is held in a regard only slightly lower than the Lord Christ. I also want to clarify that I differ from certain of my former associates in the sporting press: I actually like Peyton Manning.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here is the low-down...

Archie Manning is the biggest whiner I have ever seen in the world of sports. The man makes Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi looks like saints when it comes to his handling of the press, and Peyton and Eli are not much better. Why do I say this about Archie? Archie is angry over Terry Bradshaw's comments about Peyton Manning's handling of himself at the post-game press conference after the Colts got whipped by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Peyton complained about the lack of protection from his offensive line. In doing so, he began his remarks with "I hate to sound like a bad teammate but..." Thus, sounding like a bad teammate is exactly what Peyton did. He broke the cardinal rule of being on a team: Wins and losses are taken as a team. As the quarterback (field general) he bears primary responsibility. What he said about his offensive line was true, but you chew them out for that in private away from the cameras.

As for Archie's comments about the press always saying Peyton can't win a big game: Well, Archie, has the sporting press gotten that wrong? Tell us...what big game has Peyton won?

In four years here, he failed to beat Florida, but Tee Martin did.
He could not win a National Championship here...Tee Martin did.
Now he can't even beat the #6 seed Steelers in a playoff game.

By all accounts and by my own reckoning, Peyton is a far better quarterback than Tee Martin ever hoped to be. That just adds more truth to the very statement "Peyton Manning chokes in big games." He has proven this to be true time and again. Until he can prove otherwise, you can expect to hear such things about him in the press...especially when he makes assenine statements like he did after the Steelers' game.

As for Archie, I have no doubt that he has raised Peyton and Eli to be fine young men, and he can be proud they they are both going to have great professional careers (Peyton's career already makes his father's pale in comparison), but they are big boys. They can take care of themselves. If Peyton or Eli aren't ready to handle criticism from the press, they aren't ready to be in the National Football League.

As far as handling the sporting press is concerned, Peyton needs to grow up, and his father needs to shut up. Your boys are big boys now, Archie. If they can't handle words at their age without you butting in all the time, what will they do when you aren't around?


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