Manning stands in league of his own

Phil Consuegra

There are a lot of things that people like me just get tired of hearing about.

I’m tired of hearing about the Sox and the Yankees. Neither one is the champ anymore.

I’m tired of hearing about how Terrell Owens is a jerk. Yes, he is. Now stop talking about it. This is exactly what he wants you to do.

But most of all, I’m tired about hearing about the Patriots and their nine-point dynasty. Fine, they won three Super Bowls against mediocre NFC teams. I suppose it’s some kind of dynasty. But I’m not the only one who’s tired of that last one. Apparently, so is Peyton Manning.

I’m sure the majority of American football fans were rooting, very outwardly, for Peyton Manning to finally do it. To finally beat those guys. To finally be able to say he is, truly, the best quarterback in football. And yes, he did both. But what was more impressive was the way he did it.

He made it look way, way too easy. I suppose ESPN will start talking about an undefeated season, and they should be. It’s more realistic this season. But the Colts’ schedule is tough down the stretch, with visits to Cincinnati (who aren’t the butt of jokes anymore), a home contest against Pittsburgh, a visit to Jacksonville, a home game against San Diego, and a tough visit to Seattle, where it’s always difficult to play.

They can talk about a perfect season, and I think it will happen, but if you’re looking for a spoiler, any of those teams can do it. Right now, I’m cautiously optimistic about the Colts’ chances.

It’s been great to see Peyton succeed. It’s even better to see him finally beat his own inner demons and go into Foxborough and win. It’s the best to see little brother Eli living up to the hype after only one season, like Peyton did his second season. Dad, without a doubt, must be proud of his boys.

That’s been his trademark all season. There is no other quarterback in the NFL that calls his own plays. There is no other quarterback in the NFL that throws the way he does. There is no other quarterback in the NFL that has such precise, such great field vision.

But he always had these abilities – even during his 0-7 streak against the Patriots. The difference for him this year is on the other side of the ball.

The Colts finally have a respectable defense to go with their exceptional offense. Robert Mathis has nine sacks, Dwight Freeney has six, and Corey Simon has bolstered their run defense. Cato June has five picks and two touchdowns. The defense is only allowing 12 points a game, and 4.8 yards a play. That’s a full yard per play less than their offense. In short, the defense is opening it up for Peyton and his boys.

But what else is it that draws us to Peyton Manning? He’s young, and will probably be considered one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He’s a team player, unlike most of the NFL and professional sports today (see: Terrell Owens, Ricky Williams, Jeff George).

He’s got a Hall of Fame receiver on the other end of his passes (Hall of Fame Quarterback and Hall of Fame Receiver… sound familiar?). He’s got a pro-bowl running back in the backfield. He’s got a coaching staff that just lets him do his thing.

The easiest job in the world? The offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. I hope someday I could have a job like that. No responsibility, no major problems. What would you have to worry about?

But there’s more to Peyton’s allure. Think about his name. Manning. It just rolls off the tongue, and it is synonymous with football His commercials are the funniest around. His hero is Elvis. His family is football royalty.

He’s got a million dollar smile. He’s humble. He’s a role model. He brought the Colts back from the dead. He’s a good guy.

He went to Tennessee, and stayed for his senior year, even though he would have gone first in the draft. He’s the guy little kids dream of being.

Peyton epitomizes the attitude athletes should have. That’s why we love him. He’s one of the few players left with true class. Without a doubt, we’ve got plenty more seasons to enjoy Peyton Manning.

And by the way – they say his little brother is going to be pretty good, too.