I checked the TV Guide, the NFL Official Schedule and then LaMarr Woodley’s Twitter feed, and yes, it appears that Pittsburgh will be in Denver on Sunday Night. However, according to Sports Center, the NFL Network and yes, even E! Entertainment News (shoved between a Kardashian and a Brangelia rumor), the 60,000+ fans gathered at Invesco and the 20 million, like me, at home, will be watching in awe and admiration, the Great Peyton Manning throw perfect 80 yard spirals down the field. By himself.
Example: the Sunday Night Football promo on Wednesday night lasted about 15 seconds, give or take. Thirteen of those were spent quoting the virtues of #18, with highlights galore from his glory weeks five minutes with Denver. And then, just for giggles, or maybe actually because they are contractually obligated to show both teams, at the end they threw up images of the two quarterbacks who would be taking the field that night. On the one side you have Sir Peyton, looking angelic, with a beam light from above shining down on him, casting nary a shadow. On the other side, you have Ben. Big Ben. Sporting a 5 o’clock shadow and looking like he just came home from a weekend bender. (I’ll hold off a minute while the lurking non-Steeler fans get all the jokes out of their systems. Ok ready?)
Now don’t get me wrong. Peyton is awesome. AWESOME. I say that because every Saturday in the fall, I bleed a little orange. He’s a 4 time league MVP, Super Bowl Champion and the smartest guy on the field. And he has impeccable comedic timing (Example: “Nothing like Tapenade and Football. Together.”) I once for-go’d the family and spent a Thanksgiving at the Georgia Dome, just to see him play against the Falcons. It was worth it.
I know that the NFL has their favorites. Guys they want to talk about over and over, Tommy, Drew, Aaron….Guys who are the face of the franchise and are that so called ‘marketable’ athlete. He’s the newly minted ‘Come Back Kid’. I get it. But I dont have to like it.
Peyton leaving the Colts and coming to Denver after a year off is big news. Who didn’t watch him be courted and salivated over like the last cupcake at fat kids camp. Everyone is on the edge of their seats to see if he’s still got it and everyone has something to say about it, apparently even me. But didn’t Pittsburgh have the number one defense last year? Did we not put 400 yards on these guys last year? And didn’t we learn something on Wednesday night about hype and ‘elite’ quarterbacks? Eli is nothing with Cruz dropping passes all night and a defense that doesn’t come through in the clutch.
Just as Peyton is in the sunset of his career, I am at the end of my Rant. And no, I can’t just not watch ESPN for three more days. That’s silly.