As expected Peyton Manning announced he would not be playing in the Colts season opener. This will end his streak at 208 consecutive starts. We could very well be watching the beginning of the end of Manning’s incredible career. There is much we do not know about Peyton Manning’s current condition. Just how serious is his neck injury? The silence from the Colts camp is indicating the injury is pretty serious.
So without Peyton at quarterback, at least for a few games this season, how will the Colts react? Understandably, there are many concerns about Peyton’s replacement, Kerry Collins. Collins will soon turn 39 years old. Although, he is a seasoned competitor, does he have what it takes to lead the team in Peyton’s absence? Well, one thing is for certain, Collins does know how to play in the AFC South, which is probably the reason the Colts talked him into coming back from retirement. The last notable season he had was in 2008, when he had 12 touchdowns with 7 interceptions. As each day with the Colts is filled with more variables, the rise of prominence of the Houston Texans is becoming clearer. This could very easily be the Texans year to finally break through and win the AFC South.
Let’s face it, without Peyton on the field to lead this team, there is going to be a gaping hole in the Colts team. He is simply the most important part of this team. To make the situation even more curial, the Colts have an agonizing schedule this season. They have to face Houston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. And it’s looking as if Peyton will not be on the field for at least part of these games. The best the Colts can expect is to go 2-2 and more realistically they will go 1-3 against these teams.
If this is the beginning of the end of Peyton Manning’s career it will be a sad thing for the NFL, because he has had such a storied career. The only thing that is clear at this point the Colts are going to be a very different team when Peyton Manning is no longer a Colt. How do you replace a sports icon? How did Chicago Bulls replace Michael Jordan when he left? They did not do a very good job of it, since there is no replacing a player like Jordan or Manning. The Colts will probably take the same path as the Bulls did. They flounder for a couple of years trying to regain their equilibrium. But once that is achieved, the Colts will start rebuilding their team and start winning again.