Free Agent QB Peyton Manning will have to defy NFL history

The Free Agent feeding frenzy that is the Peyton Manning post-Indy tour has me wondering if anyone in the media or within the club facilities of the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs or any of the other rumored suitors has paid much attention to the history of the NFL?

The Football Educator has a tremendous degree of respect for the 11 time Pro Bowl and 5 time All-Pro quarterback from Tennessee.  His 11 trips to the playoffs and two Super Bowls (XLI (win) & XLIV (loss)) have all but locked up a future first ballot election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Manning’s free agent resume, both on and off the field, is rivaled by very few in the entire history of the game.  Who wouldn’t want Peyton Manning as the face of their franchise?  Manning represents the type of player that every Owner, General Manager and Head Coach dreams of building their organization around; draft, develop, surround with talent and win.

Free Agent QB Peyton Manning IS that once in a generation player.

But even the “yellowest” of jackets begins to fade at some point and 2011 left Manning with a scar on his neck and standing on the sidelines watching his beloved Colts go 2-14 to claim rights to perhaps the next generation’s top player, Andrew Luck.

The National Football League has played 46 Super Bowls and assuming that’s the “end all goal” of its 32 clubs, those tasked with the decision making responsibility of building a competitive roster should pay close attention.

Only 7 quarterbacks have changed teams and gone on to win the NFL’s premier game.

  • Drew Brees        San Diego to New Orleans (age 30)
  • Brad Johnson     Minnesota, Washington to Tampa Bay (age 34)
  • Trent Dilfer         Tampa Bay to Baltimore (age 28)
  • Brett Favre         Atlanta to Green Bay (age 27)
  • Steve Young       Tampa Bay to San Francisco (age 33)
  • Doug Williams    Tampa Bay to Washington (age 32)
  • Jim Plunkett       New England, San Francisco to Oakland/Los Angeles (age 33 & 36)

The oldest QB to win a Super Bowl and change teams was Plunkett at 36 years old.  Peyton Manning will turn 36 this March 24th.  Manning was in Indianapolis for 14 years, and the Colts drafted, developed, surrounded him with talent and consistently won for almost all of that period.

But now, faced with medical questions, the specter of a new team – new teammates, new coaches, new system and new fan base, the free agent Manning is being asked to do what has never been done before.  None of the above players ever changed teams after the age of 36, none were with their prior club or clubs for 14 years (longest was 7) and none won a Super Bowl in their first season (except Dilfer) with the new club.  None have ever done it at the age of 37 in their 2nd season with the new club either, NONE.

Manning and his sports agent Tom Condon will be looking for top dollar, a contract reflective of his productive past performance.  But no NFL Owner or General Manager truly looking out for the long term future and success of their club would be in the right mind to ignore history and head down an unproven path.  To do so would only be a temporary placation, if not duping of an unrealistic media and ticket buying public looking for a quick fix to what ails them.

Manning would have been better off remaining in Indianapolis, “passing” on the knowledge of one generation’s player to the next.

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