The New York Post’s Kyle Smith has a great piece on the homepage about Peyton Manning who was — it’s still hard to believe — released by the Indianapolis Colts today.
Roger Goodell’s NFL is a league where you aren’t allowed to hit quarterbacks or so much as tell a white lie to a wide receiver in an effort to prevent him from catching a pass. But it wasn’t always thus. Smith reminds us that when Manning came on the scene, it was a field-goal kicker’s league:
In the 1990s, NFL football seemed about to sink into a mini–dead-ball era of wily defense. Such was the skill of kickers that short- and medium-distance field-goal attempts became nearly always successful. They also grew far too frequent. In 1993, only one team managed to average 25 points a game. In 1994, to discourage rampant field-goal kicking, the league decided that a missed field goal would result in the other team’s taking possession at the spot of the missed kick instead of at the 20-yard line as before. Scoring increased, but the 1999 NFC Championship game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams still ended with zero touchdowns and a dismal final score of 11–6.
That year was also the sophomore session of Peyton Manning, whose mind-boggling 14-year career as an Indianapolis Colt came to a tear-inflected end Wednesday. He led the game out of a mild mire and into its current, fantastically entertaining incarnation, in which it operates at Mel Brooksian ludicrous speed.
Whole thing here. For the record, as both a huge Jets fan and a huge Peyton fan, I hope the Jets don’t pull a Brett Favre 2.0. Unless Manning looks like he’s going to end up Miami. If the Jets have to face Tom Brady and a healthy Peyton Manning four games a year, I quit.