Peyton Manning Visits: Think Bigger

By Chris Hengst

Peyton Manning is in the early stages of recreating his college recruitment on a much grander scale. He’ll listen in Denver, speak with Miami, string along Washington, marvel at someone in Arizona comparing him to Kurt Warner and maybe laugh with Pete Carroll over coffee in Seattle.

Those franchises are most commonly mentioned as potential homes for the future Hall of Famer.

Why stop there?

Manning committed to Tennessee in 1994, long before the advent of Twitter and the slightly creepy ruthlessness that is 24-7-365 college recruiting. He shunned his father’s alma mater, Ole Miss and apologized for it.

In much the same way LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade enjoyed their wine-and-dine’s two summers ago, I’m ecstatic about the idea of Peyton Manning, smirk ready and chest fur peeking out of a shirt severely unbuttoned, wondering what your team can do for him.

Manning could stroll into any stadium, saunter past security and for the hilarity of it, ask Bill Belichick if he needs any help getting over the top. Of course, he won’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to consider.

Green Bay:

Obviously Aaron Rodgers already has a ring, an annoying commercial and about a decade’s worth of youth on Peyton. So why would Manning ask Mike McCarthy to put his Super Bowl-winning signal-caller back on the bench?

Simple, the signing lights a Favre-ian fire under Rodgers we haven’t seen since the Packers knocked off the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Rodgers might be the reigning MVP but he played his best and most captivating football when he detested the idea of Brett Favre keeping him on the sidelines then having the audacity to try to beat him in Minnesota.

Let Manning arrive in Green Bay for a year and the following season might induce Rodgers to throw for 7,500 yards in sheer fury.


Ben Roethlisberger married a woman who by all accounts calmed him down and allowed him to mature to the point of avoiding headlines. Peyton Manning’s presence in the Steel City would provoke Big Ben to leave his wife, move out, buy a motorcycle, ride it without wearing a helmet and probably frequent college bars in small towns again.

I’m failing to see the entertainment downside.

San Diego:

Outside of Chargers fans, I’ve yet to meet a person who likes Philip Rivers without qualifying it. “Love the guy…because he puts up insane fantasy numbers.”

If Manning swooped in to San Diego and did anything except win the Super Bowl, the camera shots of a whiny Rivers making “what the hell was that?” faces might be more than NFL fans could handle.

New England:

Rivals linked together now and soon in the annals of gridiron history, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are legends of this generation. For years, the argument of stats versus rings in regards to the two stars threatened to tear sports bars apart.

Bill Belichick hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2005 and if you don’t think he’s getting desperate, wait until he asks Manning to visit Foxboro.

It’s not remotely believable enough to think Belichick might do this but for ESPN’s sake, I’ll hypothesize.

The lunacy surrounding a quarterback competition between Brady and Manning might finally implode Bristol in a smoldering asinine bomb of its own cliches.

“Teddy, Peyton Manning is healthy. He’s making National Football League throws. He’s putting in time. He’s winning this battle.”

“Whatever Tim, I watched Tom Brady live the Patriot Way for years, he’s not focused on Carnival, he’s focused on doing what Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots in the National Football League said every day to me, ‘God, I hate you.'”

New York Giants:

If only to see whether Eli might commit involuntary manslaughter on Tom Coughlin or the brothers devolve into a screaming fistfight on the first day of practice.

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