» By TRENT SINGER – firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s inevitable. When Jim Irsay formally announces Peyton Manning is available to the rest of the NFL, there will be speculation in almost every NFL city for a reason to lure the four-time MVP.
For the amount of criticism you will hear about why Manning shouldn’t come to Tennessee, there should be just as much support for such an idea.
You’re probably under the impression this is coming from a Tennessee homer; someone who bleeds the brightest orange and believes Steve McNair is king. But it’s not.
This is coming from a fan of the sport; someone who just doesn’t understand why it shouldn’t happen.
When the idea first dawned on me, I happened to be listening in on the radio. Paul Kuharsky, the AFC South blogger for ESPN.com, was doing his afternoon radio show on 104.5, so I decided to call in and immediately got through.
I asked Kuharsky what he thought about the possibility of Manning coming to Tennessee.
Of course, Kuharsky was skeptical and he had every reason to be. He doesn’t see the Titans’ front office as the kind that goes after a big-name free agent like Manning.
Kuharsky is right. They really aren’t that kind of organization. But why aren’t they?
Do they not understand what Manning brings with him? NFL owners are all about the business. Throughout the entire 2011 lockout, we saw the horrifying effects of that.
It’s understood he was inexpensive, but by going out and getting Matt Hasselbeck, the Titans have already proven they believe they can win now with a veteran quarterback who can steer these younger players in the right direction.
Manning is far more expensive than Hasselbeck, but whether or not he loses, Bud Adams would still turn a hefty profit in ticket sales alone, not to mention the memorabilia.
If Adams is so business driven, then why not take a risk on a guy who’s going to pay off regardless?
The Titans have plenty of other needs, and the city of Nashville might not be capable of even handling the high-profile quarterback. There are plenty of cons to consider, but these are different circumstances.
I don’t believe Manning is done playing football. I can’t believe it. For as many years as I’ve watched him play, Manning has been one of the most competitive quarterbacks I’ve ever witnessed.
But he got hurt and took a year off. Since the injury, the Colts have decided to move on.
It makes sense to everyone that Andrew Luck should be drafted to replace Manning. Coming to Tennessee would give Manning the opportunity to play Luck twice a year.
Last week, Titans General Manager Ruston Webster spoke to season ticket holders on a conference call, praising his current quarterbacks and showing Manning some respect as well.
“Obviously [Manning] is a great player in the league,” Webster said. “But on the flip side of that, we’re excited about our quarterback situation.
“I think Matt brought us through a difficult time, especially once we lost Kenny Britt last year, and I think everyone saw glimpses of Jake Locker. We’re really excited about his future, so you know, obviously Peyton is a great player, but we also feel like we’re in good hands.”
For now, the Titans have Hasselbeck, which works if they decide to stick with continuity.
There will be plenty of chatter about where Peyton will go. Every city will state their best case. I’m simply making the case for Tennessee. It all seems to make sense.
Nashville is less than four hours from his college town, and there is huge support and respect for the veteran throughout the state.
People are under the impression he will be far too expensive for everyone. However, because Manning admires Tennessee, he might be enticed by a cheaper offer. It could work.
We just don’t allow ourselves to think it will work, and deny the possibility because it’s not how we normally operate.
But Manning breeds success. The Titans have the tools on offense to do great things, and adding Manning brings an inherent stability and consistency to the offense. It takes all the pressure off of Chris Johnson.
And it sets up a Super Bowl run. TAS