Thursday, March 8, 2012

Peyton Manning, Slick and Savvy

After 14 mostly storybook seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning was released yesterday. The team has decided to rebuild, most likely with who they think will be the next blue chip prospect at Peyton's position, Andrew Luck. I can wax poetic about #18's statistical dominance on the gridiron, but I've already done that before. Additionally, there's an absurd population of talking heads that have already mapped out Luck's path to Canton, so who can blame the Colts and owner Jim Irsay for going in a new direction?

Oh that's right: I can. Let's set any possible on-the-field comparisons aside, just for the sheer stupidity of contrasting an untested, yet-to-be-drafted signal caller with one of the greatest to ever throw a spiral. Not enough is being said about Peyton's contributions to popular culture. This dude, Louisiana drawl and all, found his place in front of the camera, sans football helmet. He exhibited remarkable poise and surprising humor when he filmed commercials and digital shorts. So when free agent Peyton Manning (still weird to say) stepped to the podium to assist Irsay in announcing the quarterback's release, is it that improbable to think that Peyton's emotions were rehearsed?

We've known about this impending transaction for about four months. The cloud of a 28 million dollar roster bonus, due to Peyton this week had the Colts not made this move, hung over the state of Indiana, pouring rain on any possible shine that drafting Luck brought. So if we knew about it for this long, Peyton, Irsay, and all the parties involved have known about yesterday's event for even longer. Peyton knew about it when he didn't feel the same after his first surgery. Colts medical personnel probably knew about it when they started to put the star player through rehab. Sooner or later, word soared through the organizational ladder. Before any of us had a guaranteed idea of what would happen, Irsay and his henchmen were probably watching every snap of every Stanford Cardinal game.

Being emotional is easy because we're human beings. But the sting of an event powerful enough to elicit emotion decreases over time. So instead of sympathizing with Peyton Manning's situation, let's celebrate his off-the-field talents, since Andrew Luck will never step into those shoes. When I thought of the possibility that Peyton was displaying his acting chops in front of the media, I decided to round up his best spots in front of the camera, power-ranking style.

Look, I don't actually think that the dude was faking it yesterday. I just couldn't think of a better angle. And who wants to read football analysis on a basketball blog anyway? Couldn't you do that elsewhere?

5. Sportscenter Tour

Let's start off with a classic here. Peyton, his 2-ringed brother Eli, and father Archie, portray exactly what happened when we took those family vacations in our youth. But I'm not sure whether they should get as much props as ESPN in this case; the "This is Sportscenter" commercials are some of the funniest 30 seconds in all of television. In fact, after watching this one, I trailed off on this post by watching several other spots. Regardless, can't do this post without this commercial.

4. ESPYs "Hidden Camera"

This spoof ran during the 2009 ESPY Awards. At first, he runs through these phone calls without any effort. Talks to Kim Jong-Il, Prince, and Martin Scorsese...not crazy funny, just amusing. But I LOLed when he had the surgeon on the phone. Quite possibly not funny also, but just struck that chord with me. Love you #18.

3. NFL Fever 2003

"Your defense is offensive." Great stuff, Peyton. Great. stuff. Makes you wonder if Peyton calls his legendary audibles through the headset for intimidation purposes or through sheer habit.

2. Saturday Night Live - United Way

Annoyingly couldn't find this on youtube, but if you have to stomach some ads, don't worry, it's worth it.

1. Mastercard - Cut That Meat

How can you not root for a guy doing his job...who roots for Average Joes doing their jobs!? Genius! Besides, even if you hate Peyton, you can't help but laugh at "CUT THAT MEAT!"

Top that, Andrew.

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