If you know me, then you know how trying this week has been for me. Listen, I know. It’s just football. My favorite athlete of all time, Peyton Manning, has parted ways with my favorite team, the Indianapolis Colts. It pains me deeply to even type these words. I’ve been asked a lot the past few days by family and friends how I’m dealing with this. You see, Peyton Manning is more than just an athlete to me. He’s one of a very select few people on this planet I consider a hero. You can read why here. He has consistently carried himself with class and dignity, and constantly been someone worth looking up to.
The feelings I’ve had have been somewhat mixed. I keep having to reminding myself that it’s just football, but then I think about what this really means. Peyton and the Colts have been in my living room every Sunday for the past 14 years. Some of the most cherished memories I have in life revolve around watching a Colts game with my family. I wrote about that here. What this really means is that these moments will be no more, at least, not in the same way. Sure there is plenty to hope for in Colts land, but that’s not the point. There will never be another Peyton Manning. There will never be another lazy Sunday afternoon watching 18 put up 350 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Chiefs or Jaguars. Never another Manning/Brady showdown with an epic dramatic comeback. No more weeks of stress leading up to a playoff game. No more high fives and hugs to my brother and dad as we jump around the room like schoolchildren after watching our hero do what he does best. That’s what it really means. Sundays will be different now. Something that has brought our family together for my entire life has drastically changed. I know football isn’t what holds our family together, nor is it even necessary to keep it running, but it sure has enhanced it.
It will be quite strange seeing 18 in another jersey. It will be weird seeing the Colts without 18. I hope Andrew Luck is everything they say he is. I hope Peyton wins every Super Bowl from now until he retires and proves to everyone what Colts fans have known: that he is truly the greatest of all time. Whatever the outcome though, I’ll look back with such fondness, and to Peyton Manning I’ll forever be grateful. God bless you 18.