March Madness isn’t the top story in the month of March. It’s not MLB Spring Training, either. It isn’t the Miami Heat, Randy Moss, or Jeremy Lin.
2 words: Peyton. Manning.
It is no secret to anybody that Manning is one of the best quarterbacks that ever played in the NFL. The longtime Indianapolis Colt is a 3 time MVP award winner (04, 08, 09), 11 time Pro Bowl selection, and won a Super Bowl MVP award to go along with his 1 Super Bowl ring in 2006.
Manning missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury that required two surgeries. Without their superstar, the Colts made it clear to the rest of the nation how much they missed Peyton Manning. In his absence, they finished with a pathetic 2-14 record.
No one knows how Peyton will perform now while he is close to recovering from his injury. Colts owner Jim Irsay was faced with the tough decision of using their #1 draft pick on NFL-prodigy Andrew Luck, or exercising Manning’s $28 million option to play for the Colts next season. If Irsay didn’t pick up Manning’s option, Manning would become an unrestricted free agent and would be free to sign with any team he wanted to.
After months of debate, Irsay released their longtime quarterback. And with that, it’s been a media frenzy, trying to figure out where Peyton is going to play next. After the initial release, the Miami Dolphin, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs were all rumored to pursue Manning, as all those teams had quarterback problems.
Surprisingly, the Cardinals and another dark horse, the Denver Broncos, came out as front-runners to get Manning.
It’s been an interesting plot twist, as the Broncos supposedly had their own quarterback that led them to the playoffs last year–Tim Tebow. It seemed like Tebow was all ESPN covered the entire year. “Tebowing” spread like wildfire across Twitter and the entire nation drank the “Tebow Time” kool-aid. Tebow holds the a place in the Twitter record books as well; he holds the #2 Twitter record, as his game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers advanced the Broncos to the second round of the playoffs. After the touchdown, Twitter blew up, as 9,420 tweets per second were tweeted about Tebow and that winning touchdown.
So here’s the million dollar question: Where should Peyton Manning sign? I’m here to convince you that the Arizona Cardinals look like the more enticing option for Manning. In fact, SportsNation agrees with me, and here’s why.
Like Peyton Manning, Larry Fitzgerald is considered one of the best to play their position. To put them together would be instant dynamite; Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals starting quarterback, simply isn’t getting the job done for the Cardinals as they finished next to last in an already weak NFC West division last year.
The Cardinals play at the University of Phoenix stadium; it is one of the premier places to play in all the NFL. Mile High Stadium in Denver is one of the hardest places to play, mainly because of the location. It’s called Mile High for a reason–the elevation is so high that it gets pretty hard to play there because the air is so thin. Ryan Clark, a safety for the Pittsbugh Steelers, was benched the last time they had to play in Denver because he nearly died the last time he played there. He has a sickle cell trait, which is triggered by dehydration combined with the thin air up there.
Now I’m not saying the Peyton Manning will get the same thing. It was just one extreme example. The point is, why would Peyton play at Denver when he could play at the nicest field in the NFL in Phoeniz?
One could also argue that the Broncos are more Super Bowl-ready than the Cardinals. That’s debatable, but I believe the Cardinals hold the advantage in that regard as well. The Cardinals are looking to improve their shaky defense in the upcoming draft, but their offense would be next to unstoppable if Manning went there.
Sadly, the Cardinals extended Kevin Kolb’s contract in hopes that Kolb, and not Manning, would be the man in Arizona. As of today, the Broncos and Tennessee Titans are looking like finalists for Peyton. Personally, I know that Peyton can do whatever he wants, but I believe that he made a mistake in not pursuing the Arizona Cardinals further.