The King’s New Clothes

Peyton Manning is probably going to be in a new uniform this upcoming NFL season.

Even just saying it sounds wrong; I’ve hated on all things Manning (being a Charger fan, I’ve got extra ammo for the family) for thirteen years now; stupid helmet, flappin’ arms, traitor brother – but even to my spiteful eye, he belongs in blue horseshoes.

Arguably the NFL’s best, credit where credit is due, Manning and the Colts’ iconic blue-and-white duds go hand-in-hand. You wear blue eighteen, the well-trained sports fan sees Manning in their mind’s eye. With 200 consecutive starts, 50,000 yards in passing and 4 MVP awards, the guy’s clearly not done, and the jersey he wore will be iconic, leading future generations into a discovery of one of the game’s greats.

So, the question now becomes…what’s he going to look like in another color? What city’s kids are going to say, “I saw him play”, as he ascends the steps at Canton?

What will fans have to retrain themselves to spot?

Well, it’s not as easy a question – or answer – as you might think. With Reebok’s contract running out, and Nike salivating over the chance to get all Extreme Makeover on the league’s unis, we don’t even know what things are going to look like on the existing players, let alone “the new guys”.

Will the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets look more like the Oregon D-U-C-K-S, Ducks, Ducks, Ducks? How much of the league will suffer a rebrand, and how many will follow the Raiders’ lead in saying, “Hands off, Buster,”?!?

Before I bite off more than I can chew and start foaming at the mouth, let’s refocus here.

Where’s Peyton most likely to land?

Hm. Could be the Miami Dolphins, with their love of odd formations, are tailor-made for Peyton? Bit of a short-term fix, maybe, but here’s what it would look like;

Some say that, if he signed in Miami, it wouldn’t matter what color the uniforms were, because he’d be solid dirty from getting sacked so much. Ugh.

Well, the Cardinals have jack-all at QB – betcha Manning would look good in red, huh?

Well, the Cards would have to get rid of that sixty-five mil’ or so they owe Kevin Kolb before writing this cheque, so maybe not.

What about Washington? Lord knows Daniel Snyder’s desperate enough.  The Jets? Hey, “The Manning Brothers Take Manhattan,” or at least the Jersey Swamp;

 

How about the Seahawks? Pete Carroll’s learned a lot, and adding Peyton would even make Marshawn Lynch look better, since defences would automatically freak out, watching Manning;

If I’m a betting man, though, I’m saying, “Tennessee” as loud as I can. Do you KNOW how many jerseys would sell? Heck, his old Vols jersey would fly again, and merchandising being the driving force it is in the NFL, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oil…er, excuse me, the Titans feel like they could spend a little money on Manning.

If this is all starting to sound a little Brett Favre to you, I don’t blame you.

Of course, Manning could just return to Indy. The tears, the shaky voice, the promise that nobody would ever wear Manning’s #18 again…Lord knows, there will be a LOT of empty seats in Indianapolis for a few years.

I’ll bet that there’s still the occasional blue eighteen up there, though. Some fan’s son will look up one day and say, “Dad, who’s Manning?”

Let me tell you, son…and the uniform will be a bridge to the past for a little boy who otherwise might never know.