|Just sharing the same league is crowded enough for Eli, Archie and Peyton Manning. (Getty Images)|
Peyton Manning to the New York Jets? Well, sure. The Jets have invested heavily in their defense, and they have playmakers at receiver and running back, and they have a Pro Bowl left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson. An 8-8 disappointment this season, the Jets could very well be one player away from the 2013 Super Bowl -- and that player might just be a great quarterback.
Lord knows Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, assuming he's healthy, but he'd need a new home if the Colts decide not to invest the $28 million roster bonus he's due before the NFL Draft -- when Indianapolis plans to take another potential franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Peyton Manning to the Jets? On the surface it makes all the sense in the world, which is why everyone's talking about it -- because they haven't looked beyond the surface. They haven't delved deep into the emotional area where it doesn't make sense at all.
Peyton Manning to the New York Jets?
Are you crazy?
Peyton Manning and Eli Manning cannot share the same city, much less the same stadium. Get the (heck) outta here. They're brothers and best friends, and they have a helicopter dad who hovers even now -- defending Eli from those big bullies on the television in November, then opining in December that Peyton and Andrew Luck would prefer not to play together in Indianapolis. Archie Manning later took back that second comment, but the point remains:
Archie Manning is heavily invested in his sons' careers, and he won't allow this to happen. It's true, his sons are grown men -- adults -- who don't need daddy to tell them how to live their lives. But it's also true that Archie Manning is an active presence in their careers, especially that of Eli, who ended up in New York on draft day 2004 because Archie didn't want him in San Diego. Just as Archie felt it wasn't in Eli's best interest to be stuck in San Diego in 2004, he surely feels now that it's not in Eli's best interest to be stuck in the same stadium with his Hall of Fame-bound older brother. And if that's how Archie sees it, that's how Peyton would have no choice but to see it.
Look, I don't know any of that to be true, but that's my feeling. And it makes sense, right? Why nobody else has come forward with that same feeling, I couldn't tell you. It's like that scene in Jurassic Park, where park officials are celebrating the fiscal brilliance of recreating dinosaurs when they're scolded by the brilliant realist among them, Dr. Ian Malcolm: "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
That's where we are with this whole idea of turning MetLife Stadium into Manning Park -- everyone so preoccupied with whether the Mannings could share the same stadium, they're not stopping to think if they should.
The Jets aren't ever going to think about it. They don't care, of course. They're just greedy for a Super Bowl, looking for any shortcut they can find, and if that means sneaking up behind Mark Sanchez and throwing him to the wolves, they'll do it. In one breath various gutless members of the Jets ripped Sanchez this week to the New York Daily News, and in the next they practically begged the franchise to replace him with Peyton Manning.
That was Wednesday's newspaper. Thursday, another deep thinker in the Daily News opined that the Jets should do whatever it takes to pursue Peyton Manning.
On Friday, we've got me. Channeling my inner Ian Malcolm, who was brought to Jurassic Park because he's a genius, and because he could look at things in a way most people couldn't. That's me, here. Genius, and thinking outside the box -- right where the entire Manning family ought to be residing at the moment.
Surely they've come to the same conclusion I have, that pitting Manning vs. Manning in the media capital of the world, with millions of passionate football fans split down the middle -- half hating the Jets, the other half hating the Giants -- isn't in the best interest of Peyton or Eli, to say nothing of the havoc it would wreak on poor Archie.
Can't you see the back pages of the New York City tabloids, turning Jets vs. Giants into Manning vs. Manning? The kids wouldn't fall for it, no. Peyton and Eli wouldn't buy into it, wouldn't start to hate each other, but it would be a toxic environment. Football wouldn't be fun, not with the city pitting one Manning against the other.
They've played each other before, of course. The Manning brothers have met two times in the regular season -- Peyton is 2-0 -- but this would be different. They'd play each other every year in New York, at least in an exhibition game, but that's not even what I'm getting at. I'm getting at the underlying competition, the year-round contest of Jets vs. Giants that would become a year-round contest of Manning vs. Manning.
I'm not saying Peyton Manning will finish his career with the Colts. I have no idea. But if he does play somewhere else next year, it won't be with the Jets. You heard it here first. And with history and helicopters as my guide, I'm thinking you'll hear it sooner or later from Archie Manning.