Don’t Stick Your Neck Out For Him
With Peyton Manning and the Colts officially dissolving their 14-year relationship today, speculation has begun to spread like wildfire as to where the 4-time MVP may land. Depending on who you read, you may find the San Francisco 49ers on the list of teams that could land (or at least consider landing) Manning (Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports lists them as number 2 of the teams that should take make a run at him).
Had this been any other year for the 49ers, entertaining the thought of Manning behind center would be a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to bring in a quarterback with championship pedigree and who could be in the conversation as one of the greatest of all time when he hangs up his cleats?
However, after coming off a 13-3 season and about one or two plays from reaching the Super Bowl, a pursuit of Manning arguably isn’t as needed. Current QB Alex Smith finally had a competent season showing the 49ers Faithful that he can be the guy to lead them into the future. Is he a world beater or the next great QB? No. But to go after Manning now would be more detrimental to San Francisco than it would be beneficial.
First off, Manning is coming off four neck surgeries. Four. One neck surgery would be cause for concern. Four should be setting off sirens like a tornado is coming. Now I’m not a doctor or anything, but I’m going to say that having multiple surgeries on a very critical part of your body is not a good thing for your future as an NFL player where violence and physical harm is basically encouraged. Especially in a sport where bounties are being placed on other players’ heads. Can you imagine the bounty the Saints would put (or still may put) on Manning? $10,000 to knock him out? $50,000? They would have fans jumping on to the field trying to claim that bounty. Boba Fett himself may come on to the field to try and get in on it.
To add to the neck surgery issue, Manning is now 36 years old. Healing doesn’t occur as quickly and doesn’t happen as much when one begins to age (at least that’s what my dad tells me). Even if Manning has supposedly “healed”, who’s to say if he has healed properly or that his neck will ever be completely healed. Additionally, the injuries to his neck have undoubtedly changed the way he throws the football. His accuracy may not be an issue, but his arm strength might. He will not be the same Peyton Manning that lined up behind center in Indianapolis, that much is certain.
And finally, the last reason why the 49ers should not bring Manning in is…Alex Smith. That’s right. That Alex Smith. Smith’s confidence has to be at an all-time high after his first successful season as a pro. After a tumultuous start to his career, he seems to be in a good place football-wise (as well as mentally) and ready to lead the 49ers to several more seasons of success. If the Niners bring in Manning now, can you imagine what that would do to Smith’s psyche? And then let’s say Manning starts and gets hurt. Smith is again your quarterback but would he be fully there after that circus? I’m guessing not.
Jim Harbaugh has gone on record saying that Smith is “his guy.” While it is understandable for Niner fans to want the team to explore the possibility of bringing in someone of Manning’s caliber, at this stage in his career and with the type of team the 49ers have, it isn’t entirely necessary.
As crazy as it sounds, in 2012, Alex Smith is a better option for the 49ers than Peyton Manning.
Maybe the Mayans were right about the whole world ending thing…
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