FIRST DOWN: Peyton Manning, Good Guy.
Yes. That happened. For 60 minutes. This game served as a mix tape highlighting each of Peyton Manning‘s worst attributes. It all manifested itself, rather amazingly. Happy feet. Sulking. The Manning Face. The uneven throwing velocity. The Pick Six. Fear not: we aren’t here to pile on and pile on, and then when there’s nothing left to add, because there’s nothing else to do, pile on some more. There are plenty of other places to find that type of Anti-Manning Fetish around the Internet today. But it’s certainly worth noting that the historical ramifications of Peyton Manning’s season shockingly vanished, or at least have to be reconsidered after the 43-8 defeat at the hands of the Seahawks.
So, after that all occurred, when the dust began to settle, we traveled to the Worldwide Leader — for insight, to be told What This All Means.
“Steve Young is confused.” That’s the first thing I wrote down in my notebook. And confused, he was.
Now, there’s a delicacy here, a sense of diplomacy and self-restraint that only appears when we want to say something, without actually saying anything. His parsed words managed to retract ideas he, himself, expressed only moments before. His weariness to Go There is because he was talking about Peyton Manning and the “L Word.”
Young’s opinion started out fine: That Manning’s legacy is already profound because he changed the game by eliminating the barrier between coach and player through an ability to read defenses at the line of scrimmage. This feat, essentially, streamlined offensive strategy to the efficient standards at which units operate today. “He changed the game,” Young told us.
But Young then continued, stating that when you put yourself in that conversation, you hold yourself up to the ridicule and scrutiny in terms of your shortcomings. Here is where the backtracking began: “Wait,” Young stopped (I’m paraphrasing here). “I’m not saying Manning put himself in the conversation with words, but when you play so well, you do it with actions.”
Again, he was saying something without actually saying anything. Empty words, really. Young’s blurry statement, masked as an underlying critique, was unlike whatever the fuck happened during the Fox live broadcast, which has been ridiculed across the Internet today, when Joe Buck arbitrarily referred to Peyton Manning as “the classy Peyton Manning” in the waning moments of the game. It’s not that Buck is wrong. Dan Wetzel did an excellent job describing how Manning, even in defeat, was gracious. It was just a misplaced qualifier, given the timing.
And so he is: A classy fellow, that Peyton. A nice, affable guy; who most everyone in sports media has an unending affinity towards. But sometimes, nice guys do finish last. And that’s OK.
SECOND DOWN: The Seahawk Way
A respite in Legacy Discourse happens (thank God), but instead of game analysis, we’re treated to dynasty discussion. Hilarity ensues when Chris Berman – who’s notoriously ornery about working environments (see above) – asks for a graphic. Then, asks for it again. And again. He has a point, by God, HE HAS A POINT. (Excuse my cackling, you just know a poor P.A., who’s making .0007% of Berman’s salary, was reamed out after this mishap.)
Later, Tom Jackson tells us that the Seahawks are definitive contenders for the next seven years. Why seven? Because, that’s why. Young, Berman, and Jackson then go on to mock people who called Russell Wilson a “game manager.” Good thing ESPN doesn’t employ such “analysts” who would make such a designation!
Just an FYI I couldn’t care less about what the stats say. I’m an eyeball test guy, I study game tape not stat sheets.
// The best part of the coverage was Young. Because this blowout means something, right? But of course, it has to! So now we’re throwing out meaningless (and delusional) praise: Pete Carroll, Leader of Men, Promoter of Individuality, and Mental Health Lobbyist.
LET YOUNG MEN BE WHO YOU ARE.
THAT’S WHAT WINS SUPER BOWL RINGS.
Am I the only person who thinks this is batshit crazy? I mean, I get it: Last year, Joe Flacco became elite; this year, Pete Carroll became a philosopher. There’s this insatiable need to assign importance by screaming, “It’s all happening! And it’s happening all the time!” And that quickly turns problematic. I’m hardly the first person to write about the media’s propensity to reclassify NFL head coaches as institutional deities, but Young’s rant here is almost surreal.
YOU GO BE YOU!
Are we even talking about football anymore? Whatever. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
(I thought these two traits were mutually exclusive, too!)
THIRD DOWN: Sugar, We’re Going Down Swinging
Quick Update: While the search for the next Red Sox reporter continues, NESN announced the addition of Sarah Davis as an on-air talent. Jenny Dell’s replacement is at-large. Somewhere. And when she — or he!! — is identified, expect the Internet to break.