Peyton Manning NFL MVP

Has Peyton Manning played his last game for the Colts?


Manning, the Hall of Fame-worthy 35-year-old quarterback, firmly established himself as the most irreplaceable player in the game this season, and did it without taking a single snap. Some have even suggested he deserves Most Valuable Player consideration: With him, the Colts are a perennial Super Bowl contender, without him they're a laughingstock.

One player can have this kind of understandable impact in the NBA, where a LeBron James can leave Cleveland Cavaliers and reduce them from a 60-win team to the worst team in the league. In the NBA, you're talking about five players on the court at a time.

Nobody could have imagined this would happen in football, where Manning is one of 11 players, and doesn't play defense or special teams.

When the New England Patriots lost Tom Brady for the 2008 season, they still went 11-5.

The Colts, who two years ago were in the middle of a debate over whether an undefeated season was possible, are now wondering if they will win a single game. We've always known Manning is he face of the franchise (and, to a certain extent, the entire NFL). Now we're finding out he's the heart, the soul, the brains ... everything.

The Colts aren't just losing this season; they're barely competitive, enduring a season that included a nationally televised, 62-7 shellacking by the Saints in New Orleans.


Turns out the Colts picked the perfect year to stink.

If they get the first pick in the draft -- and they have a two-game lead on Minnesota and St. Louis with three games remaining -- they will be in position to pick Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck , by most accounts the best quarterback prospect to come out of college since Hall of Famer John Elway left Stanford and joined the Denver Broncos in 1983.

Not a bad deal: The Colts get 13 years of elite quarterbacking from Manning, suffer for one season, then get Luck for another decade or more of elite quarterbacking.

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