Blog Entry

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 5:51 pm
Manning, Irsay

ManningBy Josh Katzowitz

Now that Jim Caldwell has been fired as the Colts head coach, what does that say about what will happen to the face of the franchise for the past 15 years?

Well, it’s probably not great news for those who would love to see Peyton Manning back at the helm of the Colts offense.

As we came to understand this year, Caldwell’s job absolutely depended on Manning playing* – though you have to wonder if Caldwell had gotten more out of his team like, say, a 4-12 season instead of a 2-14 record, maybe Irsay would have kept him – and without that safety net, he was exposed as something less than stellar.

*You know how so many people joked (or maybe they weren’t joking) early this season that Manning should be the league MVP this season because of how different Indianapolis was without him? On that same note, you could make the claim that Manning has done the most damage of anybody in the Colts organization. I mean, look at how many people have been fired because Manning didn’t play this season, including a potential Hall of Fame executive in Bill Polian.**

**Obviously, I’m joking (or maybe I’m not).

But now that Caldwell is gone, along with Bill and Chris Polian, will the Colts decide to bring back Manning for another season and pay his gargantuan salary to do so? Or, will Indianapolis completely begin to reconstruct the franchise without him?

We already know what Manning prefers. His father Archie Manning said Sunday that, “Peyton kind of likes his roots in Indy. … We’ll see what happens there. If that doesn’t work and he can get healthy we’ll see. That’ll all work out. He’s just trying to get healthy.”

While new general manager Ryan Grigson said today that he and the ownership haven’t discussed Manning or who their future quarterback might be -- though that claim seems rather dubious, right? -- here are four reasons why the Colts might decide they’re better off without one of the best NFL quarterbacks in history.

Colts Offseason
Can Manning be what he was?: We obviously have no idea. Manning has no idea. And it's obvious that nobody has any idea whether Manning, following spinal fusion surgery that kept him out the entire 2011 season, will be healthy enough to play in 2012 or whether he’ll be the same MVP-caliber player. Apparently, he’s on target with his recovery goals and he began throwing after practice toward the end of the season, but he’s still a long way from knowing exactly how healthy he can be going forward.

New guys who have no loyalty to Manning: Irsay believes Manning is like family. Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell did, as well. But Grigson won’t feel that way, and most likely, neither will the new coach. Because, well, why should they? And why should they be loyal to Manning? The answer: they shouldn’t, and if Irsay is cleaning house in his organization, he has to know that letting go of Manning might be the next logical move. And if he wasn’t OK with that, he probably shouldn't have fired everybody.

Drafting Luck: Although Irsay claims no decision has been made about whether the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the top pick in next year’s draft, there have been reports that Irsay will do exactly that. And really, how can he not? If the scouts are right and Luck is truly one of the best quarterbacks to emerge from college since Manning, how could Indianapolis not take him? Especially since Manning, at best, has only a few years left in his career, and Luck, if he’s anywhere close to Manning’s talent level, could be running that team for the next 15 years.

Huge money due: Manning originally was due a $28 million bonus on March 8, and though it’s been reported that the Colts want to work out an extension with Manning so they could postpone the decision (considering Manning seems to be amenable with the Colts and wants what’s best for his team, I imagine that will be OK), they can’t push the decision that far down the road.

And that’s really at the crux of the issue. The Colts need to know if Manning can play and play well. Manning can’t give them an answer. With a new direction for the front office, how much are the Colts really going to risk trying to ride Manning to the playoffs for the next few years? The answer: they very well could decide they won’t. And honestly, maybe they shouldn’t.

It's a new world in Indianapolis, and there simply might not be enough room for Manning in it.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:23 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Are you stupid? Manning never even caught up to Brady. How the hell could you say Brady caught up to Manning is just moronic. Brady was whipping Manning's ass for years before Manning got his first win against Brady. Manning still cannot carry Brady's jock strap. What a complete imbecile. You need to quit adding antifreeze to whatever you are drinking. Maybe leave the paint chips alone also.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:12 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

The Caldwell firing means nothing. The Polian firing means everything. For the first time in his career, Manning won't be the golden boy. What he will be is an older QB that is coming off 3 surgeries to his neck. And at this point, nobody knows if he will ever be the QB he once was, or if he will ever play again. Even if he was perfectly healthy, there is going to be a new front office, and they are going to draft Luck.
If I were ownership, I would draft Luck, and either trade or cut Manning. I know that sounds harsh, but it happens to all the great players...eventually. Manning doesn't want to be a part of a total rebuilding, he wants to compete. I think the writing is on the wall, Manning won't be the QB for the Colts anymore.

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:03 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

This firing should've never happened.  He should've never been hired in the first place.  At least the Colts had the "class" to wait until after MLK day.  Stay classy, Irsay!Yell

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:53 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Jon F

Michael Jordan Was A Glorified Ball Boy With The Washington Wizards  LOL

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:58 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Take note: Only one blogger mentioned that Luck is no lock.  I stand by my entry: Draft Luck, then if Peyton can practice and see how healthy he really is, you have a hedge against prematurely sending him off, and a hedge against a rookie star who has no guarantee of "lucking" out.  And yeah, Peyton would probably play with the dollars to get a fair shake, don't you think?

Since: Feb 15, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:53 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Just a note to the delusional fan-boys: Johnny Unitis left Baltimore, and Joe Montana left San Francisco. Professional sports is full of local sports gods who played somewhere else before they retired. Manning will be loyal until he isn't. And please, if you think Manning is going to become a QB coach with the Colts, you must think Michael Jordan would be a ball-boy for the Bulls. 

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:51 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

I'd love to see Peyton set 'em on fire again in the Colts' blue and white.  But the disastrous picture in my head--and not just mine--is a glorious comeback that ends in a disabling injury.  And seeing Manning in a wheelchair with a family behind him in a bittersweet ceremony at midfield would be the worst tragedy of any scenario we're discussing here.  Bottom line: the Colts pick Luck, Manning gets healthy enough to practice, and if he's not fully right, HE makes the decision that puts everyone out of their misery without risking the worst misery of his own.  I can't root for his right arm until I know about the neck that comes with it.  No records can fix that. 

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:44 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

Huge Manning fan here, I think Manning should retire. No way he should go to a different team. He is loyal to Indy. And as for us fans, we'll always have the great memories! Manning was 4-5 years ahead of the NFL as far as running offences (now Brees Brady Rodgers Stafford make it look easy) But, all good things must come to an end like losing Harrison and Edge. We will rebuild!

Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:31 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

i agree he is done in indy. texans will rule that division for a few years either way

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:17 pm

What does the Caldwell firing mean for Manning?

manning is  done in indy, but he still has a few years in him. Some team will pay the money and sign him. I think back to montana and KC. I could see manning really pushing certaing QB starved teams over the hump.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or