It was not overlooked. The fact that the man asked to replace a legend had begun his way to doing so.
The Denver Broncos took on the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. It was a contest hyped up by every major sports news outlet. Peyton Manning was going to return to Indianapolis, the city where he played professional football for 14 seasons. Colt’s fans loved Manning. He was their first ballot Hall-of-Fame player, the charismatic guy with the funny commercials, the guarantee that every game was worth going to. And then, he was gone.
A sequence of circumstances, including a major neck injury, led to the Colts moving on. The left “The Franchise” behind. Then, Andrew Luck entered the picture. The Stanford quarterback was seen as one of the best prospects since, well, Peyton Manning. The Colts could not resist ten to fifteen years of winning compared to the two to three left with Manning. In a move allegedly endorsed by Manning, the Colts drafted Luck and released the four-time MVP.
Manning found a home in Denver. Luck began his journey in Indianapolis. They both won a lot of games and made the playoffs in 2012. But last weekend, they finally met in the house that Manning built. The match up did not disappoint.
Manning ended up with 386 yards, three touchdown passes, and a costly interception. Luck had 228 yards and three touchdowns. The Colts had a lead most of the game, but Manning brought the Broncos back. And just when you thought he was going to pull it out one last time in Lucas Oil Stadium, Manning’s running back fumbled the ball away at the goal line. It ended the comeback. Luck could finally close the “Book of Manning” and start his own story.
Luck and his teammates brushed off the significance of the victory. It was just another win. Well, that is what they told reporters.
It is hard to believe that the moment was lost on Luck or Manning. Things had changed in Indianapolis. Football is a game players have a tough time giving up. Manning has alluded to the end of his career. If this is the last time he plays in Indianapolis, the loss really will become meaningless. If that was it, then THIS is what will have really mattered.