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Peyton Fever, P18 Virus, Sweeps Across America; Will the Cure Be Found In Kansas City?
- Updated: March 10, 2012
A pandemic is now sweeping America…It’s a virus that easily spreads from one NFL fan to the next…the P18 virus, also known as the Peyton virus, is highly contagious and is transmitted through close, personal contact with sports blogs and talk radio. The only known cure for the P18 virus is to already have a “franchise” quarterback on your roster or not enough salary cap space.
That’s why I’m hunkered down in my Chiefs bunker—a secret underground “man cave” carved out somewhere in the Missouri limestone, designed in the shape of Lenny Dawson…only bigger. But it may be too late. I’m already exhibiting the classic symptoms of the Peyton virus—rapid pulse rate…excitability…vivid dreams of Peyton Manning leading the Chiefs to a Super Bowl…red and gold spots breaking out…All I can do now is wait for Peyton Armageddon.
I hope it doesn’t take too long. This bunker only has a two month supply of Jack Stack BBQ…
Seriously though, the possibility of Peyton Manning joining the Kanas City Chiefs is a lot of fun to talk about. From everything I’m hearing, I think there’s a good chance it will become a reality.
Let the Speculation Begin
There is a lot of chatter out there in social media and conventional sports media about Peyton and speculation on what he’s going to do. And a good portion of it is just noise. Because the mainstream media likes to spend more time talking about certain teams, and spending little time talking about others. This has everything to do with team market (audience) size. It has little to do with whether or not that team is a serious contender to get Peyton Manning.
The New York Jets are one example of this. The Jets never were interested in Peyton, but the media preferred spending time talking about them as a possibility, because they are a team in the #1 media market. Last night’s contract extension to Mark Sanchez should finally silence that noise.
The Washington Redskins are another example of a team the media kept pushing on us as a high possibility to snag Peyton. Again, last night’s blockbuster trade with the Rams should now quiet down that noise as well. But personally, I knew several days ago the Redskins were not really in the Peyton sweepstakes, thanks to an interview Tony Dungy did on Mike and Mike in the morning.
When Tony Dungy Talks, I Listen
Now, Dungy is known to have high integrity and be a man of his word. Plus, he knows Peyton personally. So when he said that Peyton would not go to the Redskins because he would never want to compete directly against his brother, I took that to the bank. Dungy is a pretty credible source. And sure enough, the Redskins obviously weren’t feeling the Peyton love, and proceeded with their trade to get RG3. What’s funny is that the Redskins are still saying they have interest in Peyton also. But that is just noise to placate their fans.
So, who does that leave us with as the serious contenders?
Let’s start with the Miami Dolphins.
The fact that Peyton quickly went down to Miami after being released by the Colts meant nothing as far as his interest in playing for the Dolphins. If I had just been fired and lost $28 million, I would want to go relax at my Miami condo too. Peyton owns a getaway condo down there. That’s all it is. Every wealthy person in America has a condo in Florida. And he didn’t have a meeting with Dolphins officials. Plus, the Dolphins organization has so many problems from the owner down through their executives and coaches; I don’t really think Miami is being seriously considered by Peyton. And I’m sticking to that until we see Peyton have a face-to-face meeting with the Dolphins leadership. If that happens, I’ll change my mind.
Another huge reason why I don’t see Peyton signing with the Dolphins is the division they are in. Why would Peyton want to finish out his career competing against the Patriots for the division title? That would essentially mean Peyton has to beat Tom Brady three times a year to reach a Super Bowl. I’m not saying Peyton is scared or anything, but if you want to have success in the tail end of your career, why not choose the path of least resistance?
The Arizona Cardinals
This is the one team in the NFC that I think might have a chance at Peyton. Larry Fitzgerald is a friend of Peyton’s, and that can’t hurt. But the Cardinals have invested a lot into Kolb. Plus, Skelton has upswing. But primarily this will not likely happen because the Cardinals are an NFC team. I know many people don’t get why Peyton doesn’t want to compete against his brother…but that’s just their family dynamic. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. Dungy says Peyton doesn’t want to knock his brother out of the Superbowl, so that’s why I think the Cardinals are a long shot.
The Denver Broncos
Did you notice how the Denver Broncos suddenly jumped into all this? Well, there’s a reason for that…they are panicking. Big time. Why? Because they saw a certain division rival of the AFC West make a serious offer to Peyton. So they scrambled and the owner flew his plane down and picked up Peyton and took him to Denver. Of course, Peyton went along for the ride. He has plenty of time. Why not enjoy a free night or two in the Mile High city and check things out. Peyton is going to enjoy this process. But insiders say who he visits and the order of his visits mean nothing as to where he will end up.
I have a hard time seeing Peyton choose the Broncos. Why would he want to finish his career there in the shadow of John Elway? And why get mixed up in a quarterback controversy with Tebow?
This is rather amusing to Chiefs fans, because the Broncos did the same thing a few years ago, when the Chiefs wanted to get Matt Cassel. The Broncos panicked, and began pursuing Cassel as well. Their interest in Cassel infuriated a guy named Jay Cutler, who was the Broncos QB at that time. Not only did the Broncos not get Matt Cassel, but Cutler demanded a trade, so Denver ended up with Kyle Orton and Cutler moved on to better days in Chicago—all because the Broncos panicked.
We may see a similar result here with Tim Tebow when the dust settles.
The Houston Texans
This team is constantly getting mentioned even though they have shown no real interest at this point. Do they really need to go this direction? Matt Schaub is a good, young quarterback who has a lot of years left to play. Peyton has 3 to 4 at the most. I will be surprised if they pick Manning over Schaub.
The Seattle Seahawks
This is a hard team to picture Peyton playing for. Again, they are NFC, which makes them unlikely.
The San Francisco 49ers
And this also applies to the sometimes mentioned San Francisco 49ers. They not only play in the NFC, but they have a young QB who just won a playoff game in the clutch. Granted, Peyton Manning over Alex Smith is a no brainer. But a 49ers-Giants playoff scenario would be highly likely to happen if Peyton joined the 49ers. Peyton doesn’t want that.
The Tennessee Titans
This is a team that I’m surprised doesn’t have more interest in Peyton. It is easy to picture Peyton finishing out his career in his home state. But apparently, that’s not likely.
Setting the Bar
Reports indicate the Kansas City Chiefs were the first team to make an offer to Peyton—which is great, because it let him know that this is a team that REALLY wants him. They set the standard that all other teams are now trying to beat. The Chiefs can negotiate forward now with confidence.
I really think this is why Peyton is not in a rush to visit KC…they set the bar, and he will eventually go see them as well. I think Peyton is saving the best for last.
That’s right. I said it. The Chiefs would be the best fit for Peyton to finish his career. The more I look at the situation, the more right it feels. I’m not the only one who’s saying this. Media people like Mike Golic and Bob Fesco are agreeing with this. Here’s why:
- The AFC West—What a great division for Peyton to jump into. He would immediately be the best quarterback in the division and with his presence alone the Chiefs would likely win the division, which is a big factor for Superbowl-bound teams.
- The Chiefs have great skill set players on Offense—Where else could Peyton find THREE pro bowl caliber wide receivers like Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin? Plus, one of the best running backs, and a good tight end. And, he could reunite with former Colt Offensive Guard Ryan Lilja.
- The Coaches—Romeo Crennel would be a comfortable fit for Peyton. Romeo would leave him alone and allow Peyton to do his thing on Offense. New OC Daboll would love to have Peyton, and Peyton could also have a reunion with former Colt coach Jim Bob Cooter, who happens to know Peyton from working with him in Indy for the past 3 years AND Cooter is also a former quarterback for the University of Tennessee, so these two guys reportedly have a bond there.
- The Chiefs organizational culture—Admittedly, I’m going on a gut feeling here, but it just feels like Peyton would fit really well with the Chiefs. Clark Hunt is essentially still a new, young owner, having taken over the reins from his deceased father six years ago, and he’s showing a fresh desire to win, while 4th year General Manager Scott Pioli appears to have been planning for this Peyton free agency. Many Chiefs fans thought Pioli and Hunt should have spent more in free agency last year. Well, maybe all this extra cap money they have to spend now was planned? Hmmmm. Money is not an issue here with Peyton, and if they ultimately don’t get him, Chiefs fans can know they definitely offered him a great deal and they tried their best.
- The Fan Base—Chiefs fans are possibly the most enthusiastic fans in the league. They will absolutely go bonkers over Peyton Manning just like they did for Joe Montana.
- Arrowhead Stadium—What a great place for Peyton to play. Newly renovated, this stadium can fill up to 80,000 and can totally rock out. Opposing quarterbacks still don’t like playing there, even if the last few years haven’t been as noisy. If Peyton joins the Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium will once again become the premier NFL venue. And I think Peyton knows that. Just a hunch.
Some say that not having a dome could be a factor…but Peyton plays well outdoors and many in the league don’t think the weather is a factor in Peyton’s decision.
- Matt Cassel—Yes, the Chiefs had high hopes when they brought in Matt Cassel. But that was three years ago. Over 90 percent of Chiefs Nation is ready to move on. And the Chiefs were already showing their hand that Matt Cassel is not completely their number one guy. Talk has been circulating of plans to bring in competition for Cassel. If Peyton comes to KC, nobody will be upset about Matt Cassel moving to second string.
That’s how I see this playing out. Ultimately, it’s Peyton’s decision. And until Peyton Armageddon arrives, I’ll be watching from the confines of my cozy, hermetically sealed Chiefs bunker. With my trusty iPhone. And I’ll know the end is near when my Twitter feed starts exploding.
Written by Matthew Loomis
Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Tennessee Journalist