-You hate freedom
-You hate people
-You hate everyone
-You are a bastard
-Your parents never let you eat Froot Loops
-You can only score fat chicks
No wait...Actually, that was what a Deadspin poster wrote about YCS for cheering against the Detroit Tigers.
But really, if you've been listening to the media AT ALL lately, it's the same kind of attitude. All the, "You can't help but root for this guy"s and "We all want to see him win"s and the "He makes such great commercials"s. Well I for one say "fuck'im!"
Reason 1 for rooting against Peyton: You don't feel sorry for a guy who gets fired when he continually showed up to work drunk and incompetent. While it takes a whole team to win or lose a game, Peyton has been an instrumental piece in all of the Colts' recent playoff woes. In the playoff losses of the last three years(*I will be exclusively discussing Peyton's career from 2003-07, since that's when he has earned the sympathy of the nation through his playoff upsets), Manning has thrown 2 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, a far cry from his 106-30 ratio over the regular seasons. His passer ratings in those games were 35.5, 69.3 and 90.9. Now I know passer rating is a stat so complicated and unexplainable that I don't even know how to average the three numbers, but those aren't good numbers. Stats don't necessarily reflect truth, but anyone who watched any of those games knows that Manning stunk it up. The only loss where Manning played semi-well was last year's game against Pittsburgh, when the Steelers' blitz-happy defense sacked him 5 times and was on his ass all day. But even in that game, Peyton got his chance to win.
Reason 2 for rooting against Peyton: The whole "You're measured by your Super Bowl rings" is a little bit overexaggerated. Of course it's true to an extent, but the fact that sports heads talk about it so damn much is proof in itself that we realize Super Bowl victories as an unfair measurement of a quarterback's career. Believe me, Peyton's going to be remembered and revered after he breaks all of Marino's record. That's the former Miami Dolphin quarterback, Dan Marino for all of you out there who have never heard of the ringless chump.
Okay, that's not so much a reason for rooting against Peyton necessarily, but enough of this "woe is me" shit for a guy who could buy Puerto Rico, which takes me to...
Reason 3 for rooting against Peyton:Aren't you supposed to root against the guy born with a silver spoon up his ass? I mean, isn't that guy the villian in the movies? This is America damn it, and we want the guy who pulled himself out of the gutter, the guy who went against all odds. We love this story, most recently told by Will Smith's Pursuit of Happiness. Maybe this is just my politics coming out, but I've got something against the priveleged, and Peyton certainly is/was that. Do you really credit genes for the fact that Archie Manning has two NFL quarterbacks for sons?
I'm not saying Peyton didn't work hard to get where he is. I'm just saying that he's been catching breaks in life since day one. In fact...
Reason 4 for rooting against Peyton: Peyton's play of late should have him on the couch this weekend. The reason he is playing today is because Peyton's teammates, especially that out-of-nowhere defense, have played their asses of to overcome Peyton's mistakes! And yet, if the Colts win the Super Bowl, it will be "Peyton Manning's Super Bowl" regardless of how they win. I have never seen a quarterback's team as underappreciated as the Colts. Marvin Harrison is quite possibly better than Jerry Rice and Reggie Wayne would be a four-time pro-bowler with any other team. But mostly, I'm talking about the big uglies.
Although no offensive line gets its due credit, the Colt's gets less than most, and Peyton himself threw them under the bus last year (oh yeah, remember that? unofficially reason 5). We're talking about an offensive line that has led the league in sacks allowed for the past three years, and was 2nd the year before that. Read that again, because it's quite an accomplishment. Over the past four seasons, Peyton has been sacked a grand total of 62 times. This is a guy who's slow and stiff, and panics under pressure. Peyton will take the sack before he'll make the throw and leave himself exposed to a big hit (unofficially reason 6). Still, his line managed to keep his jersey cleaner than anyone else in the league. Without that line, Peyton would probably be an average quarterback. In fact, I believe that's why Peyton fails in the playoffs. Not because he's a headcase or because he's cursed. When Peyton faces the better defenses in the league, he can't handle the pressure. The offensive line is great, but when you pit a great o-line against a great defense, the results will vary. This opposed to the regular-season dominance that Peyton is used to.
Over the past four seasons, the line has allowed three or more sacks in a game just seven times, including two of the three playoff losses. The regular season games came against some of the strongest defenses ('03 Dolphins, '04 Chargers, '05 Chargers, '05 Jaguars and '06 Patriots). This is all to make this point: the Colts line does not allow less-than-great defenses to get to Manning, and he seems to take this for granted. The problem is that in the playoffs there's a lot of great defense, and when Peyton's line can't hold the rush off for five seconds on every pass play, Peyton holds the ball and gets hit. And when Peyton gets hit, Peyton gets pissed. That's when the bad stuff happens and everyone goes "awwwwww, poor Peyton." (I say the same thing, but with excessive sarcasm).
Reason 4 comes down to this: without his offensive line (one of the greatest of all time) Peyton would not be the icon that he is today, and yet he threw them under the bus! I can't stress this enough, because I have no love for anyone that bad mouths the big uglies. Period. Finally...
Reason 5 to root against Peyton Manning: Those commercials man. "Cut. That. Meat." Sure, it was cleverly funny at first, but now I can't seem to get Peyton off my TV screen. It's one thing to sell out, but to be celebrated for it? Come on. Not to mention that it further seperates him from the team (Tom Brady, on the other hand, did a commercial with his offensive line that has since become the hands-down most recognized and celebrated o-line in the history of the league...I'm just saying).
All things considered, the only reason I can think of to cheer for Peyton Manning and the Colts today is that it would make Bill Simmons very, very angry.