During halftime of Sunday Night Football's match between the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, the subject of Peyton Manning and his infamous neck injury came up.
By now, I'm sure you've all read about Jim Irsay's tweets about Manning possibly not being ready for the opener. If you haven't read Justin Knox's take on the issue, please do. It's a refreshingly positive take on something that's created a lot of negativity. Anyway, the subject came up again today on SNF's halftime show, and both Peter King and Tony Dungy had some positive things to say. Dungy was fairly confident that Peyton will play on the opener against Houston, saying:
"Unless he's dead, he's lining up under center opening day."
Personally, I agree. Manning plays with a passion unmatched by 98% of the NFL. He wants to play every snap, every game.Peter King also had some tidbits regarding Manning, saying that Jeff Saturday had told him that he believed that Manning would be ready to play by September 11th. King also reiterated that he thought Manning would play.
However, from King, it sounded like Manning would play just because he wanted to keep his streak alive. Let me make this clear: Manning is a competitor, through and through. Does he want to keep his streak? Of course he does, but he's not going to risk the team's well being for it. If he plays on September 11th and isn't quite ready, it's not because he wants his streak. It's because he's Peyton freaking Manning, and will do whatever it takes to win.
If he knows he's the teams best option at QB, and playing won't hurt himself further, he's taking snaps from Jeff Saturday during Week One. Rant aside, some encouraging things coming from the halftime show. If Dungy and Saturday think Manning's playing, I think he's playing. Also happening Sunday, Jim Irsay added fuel to the fire today, tweeting:
I'm in Mississippi,down at the crossroads….looking 4 that deal Mr. Johnson cut so many years ago…. Brad,I'm in Hattiesburg…is it right or left at the Firechief?
Hattiesburg is Brett Favre's hometown, and I'm assuming here that Brad would be Brad Childress, who had a similar journey a couple of years ago. Now, people began to overreact (again) to this, fueling the "OMG Brett Favre to the Colts!!!!" rumors.
Of course, Irsay is not in Mississippi. Irsay's plane is currently on its way back from Monterey Peninsula, California, and hasn't been anywhere near Mississippi in the last month. The fact that Irsay was joking about visiting Favre makes me all the more confident in the original feelings I had towards his veteran QB tweets. He's very likely been playing with overreacting fans.
If he has been, I am more of a Jim Irsay fan. People were overreacting up the wazoo, and it was entertaining to watch them freak out over Irsay's tweets. Shoot, even USA Today ran a story on it. Manning talked about his injury during an interview at his charity event at the Luke on Saturday. He wasn't sure exactly when he would be healthy, but did say that he would need all of the next two weeks. I'm sure he needs the time to heal, but as far as I'm concerned, Manning's playing Week One.