An Open Letter to Peyton Manning

by on December 17th, 2010
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Dear Peyton,

I recently heard that you may be out of work in the near future. While I’m not a Colts fan, I do have a lot of sympathy for your situation, and I would like to help. You’ve entertained me as a player, and your impressive work with United Way has inspired me to offer a bit of assistance as I’ve recently heard about some job openings you may be interested in, as well as some that you shouldn’t bother with.

Teams that won’t hire you so don’t bother applying

New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, San Diego, New York (Giants), Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina

Don’t feel bad Peyton, it’s not you. It’s them. It’s not that they don’t like you, obviously anyone would love to have you, but they already have someone.

You know how sensitive franchise quarterbacks can get when other guys are brought in who can threaten their jobs. I assume that’s why Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky were able to acquire gainful employment as NFL quarterbacks, because that is the only possible explanation for their position on your team last year. You don’t need these teams anyways, you’re too good for them, so let’s keep searching.

Teams with young competition you’ll want to avoid

Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, St. Louis

You and I both know that you’d beat out every quarterback on each of these teams, but the last thing you need is some first round pick sitting behind you that has already played a lot. We know how good you are, but every quarterback struggles at times, even you. We all get a little impatient at times, and the back-up quarterback on any given team is generally more popular than Zach Morris on his best day. Any of these teams would want you, but you can do better.

Stay away, no matter what these teams offer you

Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville

These teams would probably offer you a lot of money. They’d probably even make some insane offers for your services like retiring the number 18 before you even play there so they can unretire it and give it to you. Maybe the Jaguars would consider putting your face on their helmets. The Bills are always switching back and forth between home stadiums, so I’m sure they’d consider playing their home games in your hometown if you insisted. Lifetime supply of Oreo’s? Check. Keys to the city? Child’s play…how about a key to the mayor’s house. I’m a Cleveland fan and I will speak for Cleveland when I say that we are completely willing to rename Lake Erie , the Cleveland Indians, and every Ohio child currently named Lebron.

I know how tempting that sounds, but you don’t want to go out like that, so let’s move on.

Potential career opportunities

11. Oakland

Oakland should want you because Carson Palmer is not good at all, and Terrell Pryor is their future. They could surround you with fantastic athletes, and the fans there would love you. However any team that is crazy enough to give up what they gave up for Carson Palmer is not worth your time.

10. Minnesota

Minnesota is two years removed from an NFC Championship game appearance, and appears to have a lot of talent. But let’s also remember that this team was dreadful last year, and Idon’t know that Minnesota is really as talented as people think. They’ve operated as a team that believed they were just a couple pieces away for the last few years now, and it’s left their roster a bit void of the depth of talent that would be ideal for an NFL franchise. The main reason; however, that I would stay away from Minnesota involves their competition. The argument could be made (and I would agree withit) that the NFC North is the cream of the NFL crop. Green Bay is a championship contender, Detroit is right on the cusp of being there as well, and if Chicago manages to get a full year out of Jay Cutler next year I wouldn’t be surprised to see them right there with Green Bay when it’s all said in done. The last thing you need is to find yourself playing Ndamukong Suh twice a year. Pass.

9. Denver

On the surface, this probably seems like a fascinating destination. They did make the playoffs, and if I were them I’d be calling you the second you became available because you could offer the perfect opportunity to get rid of Tim Tebow. Truthfully, this is a perfect situation, but America loves you right now so let’s not mess with that. As great as this situation would be, competing with Tebow off the field (as opposed to on the field where even Brady Quinn gives him a run for his money) is not something you want to do.

8. Washington

Dan Snyder loves paying exorbitant amounts of money for veteran free agents. And Mike Shanahan did help John Elway win two Super Bowls at the end of his career. Don’t let these facts fool you. Mike Shanahan runs a very rigid system that I’m not sure you’d like to play in. System is important to me as you’ve basically run your own system for your entire career, and I don’t think that can possibly be underrated. Also, Eli plays in the NFC East against the Redskins twice a year, and I have always suspected you would rather not have to deal with that. Albert Haynesworth, Deion Sanders, Donovan McNabb, and plenty of other former Redskin free agents would be happy to warn you to stay away from this train-wreck of an organization, and I happen to agree.

7. Seattle

overrated Seattle seems to be improving as a team, and they have a lot to offer. However, I’m not sure you want to mess with the “Curse of highly paid free agent wide receivers that Seattle pursues to fill the ‘number one’ receiver slot on their depth chart” (I’m open to suggestions for new names for the curse). You see, wherever you end up, Reggie Wayne could potentially follow. So let’s do Reggie a solid and find a better landing spot.

6. Miami

Miami has a solid roster, and Brandon Marshall would be a lot of fun to throw to. If Miami had hired Jeff Fisher (your biggest fan amongst NFL coaches), Miami would be number one on this list. Unfortunately for you, Miami hired Joe Philbin. The west coast offense is the most rigid system in the league right now, and the last thing you need is some coach telling you how to play. Miami’s a great place to retire, but taking your talents to south beach is, and I think there are better choices.

5. New York (Jets)

Playoff caliber roster? Check. Management committed to do whatever it takes to win? Check. Let’s be real though, you don’t like Rex Ryan do you? And I don’t believe that the thought of competing for the spotlight in New York with your own brother is not your cup of tea. I think you could win with this team, and win quickly, but going to the Jets after spending an entire career with one team is a Brett Favre move, and from this point forward you’re going to want to do exactly the opposite of whatever move Favre would make at this point in whatever situation you face in your career.

4. Kansas City

Call me crazy, but I am convinced that Kansas City has a lot of talent. Speed, an up and coming defense, and if you could pair Reggie Wayne with Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breston, you’ve immediately upgraded over Blair White in Indianapolis. With a defensive minded head coach, I don’t think they’re particularly opposed to tailoring the offense to your strengths, and they’re one year removed from making the playoffs. As a Browns fan though, I cannot suggest that you entrust the rest of your career to Romeo Crennel on good conscience.

3. Tennessee

I’ve heard this mentioned as a possibility, and on the surface it seems like a perfect fit. Tennessee is a good, relatively young, well-coached team that happens to play Indianapolis twice a year. They protect the quarterback relatively well (Second in the league in sacks allowed in 2011), and they happen to have one of the league’s best backs (allegedly) in Chris Johnson. Plus, the bonus of ending up back in Tennessee where your legend got started nationally would make for a great storyline. I believe the revenge factor is overrated in this case though. Brett Favre was a vengeful guy who definitely craved the opportunity to stick it to his old bosses in Green Bay twice a year, but I don’t really see you as that guy, Peyton. Sure, it would probably feel good to make Jim Irsay pay twice a year for letting you go, but what about the fans? The people of Indianapolis love you, and they did nothing to provoke you. I’d be willing to bet that the fans wouldn’t even be that upset if the Colts traded the Luck pick to put some pieces around you and let you finish in Indy. That’s the kind of loyalty that can’t be bought, and shouldn’t be cast aside for a couple more years of past your prime football. I wouldn’t fault you for going to Tennessee, but I think there are better opportunities for you.

2. San Francisco

This team just made the NFC Championship game with Alex Smith playing quarterback. Their defense is phenomenal. Frank Gore is a stud running back. If you could bring Reggie Wayne here to catch the passes Michael Crabtree is unable to handle, there’s no telling what San Francisco could accomplish. As great as a fit as this is, I’m not completely convinced that Jim Harbaugh is your kind of coach, and I fear that you may butt heads a bit as you both are strong in your opinions of how the position should be played. I would support this choice, but there is a choice that I think would be slightly better.

1. Arizona

Two words: Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals have already shown what they’re capable of accomplishing when they acquire a championship caliber quarterback nearing the end of his career, and you are better than Kurt Warner ever was. Ken Whisenhunt has shown a willingness to cater his offense to the strengths of his quarterback, and Arizona is a nice, warm place to play with an indoor stadium where we all know you prefer to play. Keep in mind that Arizona recently hired Frank Reich (former Indianapolis Offensive assistant) to their staff. I don’t think that is a fact to be overlooked.

Maybe I’m crazy, and I could be overlooking some obvious factor that matters to you, but good advice is hard to get. So here’s hoping you are feeling good enough to remind us of just how good you are in 2012. It seems that America has already forgotten.

Best wishes in your job search,

Ben Taylor

Certified giver of unsolicited advice

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