There was a time not so long ago when Peyton Manning was a highly sought after free agent, and easily the most coveted prize in the history of free agency. His rockstar recruiting tour during the late winter of 2012 now seems like a distant memory, but those were also highly uncertain times. Laugh now, because that feels right given what he’s done since, but during his free agency it was often difficult to fathom that someone would pay such a large sum of cold cash for a quarterback who had four neck surgeries, and at the time we weren’t sure if he’d ever be the same again.
As Dan Pompei reminds us, Manning’s free agency could have ended much differently. He could have been a Seahawk.
At one point up to eight teams were clawing for Manning, but despite a bold move by Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, Seattle didn’t ever really escalate to serious contender status.
It was Manning who phoned Carroll first. “He gave me a call, woke me up one morning,” Carroll said. “I jumped out of bed and [said], ‘Okay, let’s go. What’s up, Peyton?’ So we started talking. We talked about the basics of what it might mean for him coming to us, so the process was underway. It was very early, he had said that he didn’t know what he was going to do, he didn’t know where he was going to visit, he didn’t know what was going to come up, but he wanted to at least hear where we stood and what our interest was.”
Manning’s first visit was to Denver. Carroll and John Schneider, Seattle’s general manager, didn’t like that, so they decided to surprise him. They flew, unannounced, to Colorado in a private plane to get some time with Manning. The hope was they could get Manning to meet them on the plane, blow him away and convince him to come to Seattle.
But the highly regimented Manning refused to meet with the interlopers without an appointment. Schneider and Carroll went back to Seattle, and the pursuit of the dream ended. Their consolation prize was Matt Flynn, who threw all of nine passes as a Seahawk.
Of course, things have worked out just fine for the Seahawks, which likely wouldn’t have been the case with Manning’s paycheck hogging so much of their salary cap (only two quarterbacks in the league have a higher cap hit than Manning’s $17.5 million). Percy Harvin hasn’t contributed much yet, but he certainly wouldn’t even be on the roster with a chance to do anything Sunday. More importantly, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are two vital cogs in a fierce pass rush, and two signings that almost surely wouldn’t have happened last spring.
So everything is swell, and now the Seahawks just have to beat Manning instead.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Now we get history
With Manning shattering records in Denver and Russell Wilson doing pretty alright in Seattle while playing a very different style of game (the scrambling and ducking kind, mostly), we’re left with a pretty cool Super Bowl first.
The 12 year, 250 day age gap between Peyton & Russell Wilson is the LARGEST age difference between starting QBs in Super Bowl history. #SB48
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 29, 2014
Manning says he likely won’t stay away from Richard Sherman
Like any thought from the mind of Peyton Manning, his logic here isn’t at all crazy. The results might be less than favorable though:
“On the teams I played on, I’ve always had some real good receivers, and we felt like we had to try to get them the ball. That was the best way for us to win. This team is no different. I think Seattle’s secondary – they’re excellent cover corner guys, and you have to know who is guarding your receiver on each play and what route that receiver is running. There are certain routes that are not quite as good against certain corners. They have three excellent cover corners – all three of them – [Byron] Maxwell, [Richard] Sherman and [Walter] Thurmond. Their safeties are excellent as well.”
Puppies and horses and feelings
Let yourself go, and let it all melt. Nothing will make you want to buy a watered-down beverage this Sunday more than a puppy befriending a horse. Nothing.
Warren Sapp just might be a complete jackass
I almost led with this today, but then thought better of it upon reminding myself that the words spoken by Warren Sapp aren’t worth such treatment anywhere. Anywhere at all.
We all understand that Sapp has a loud voice and many opinions, which is why he landed on television immediately after his retirement. He’s also capable of doing that stupid “U” thing with Michael Irvin, so that’s a plus. But although in the grand scheme of father time he’s not that far removed from his playing days (he last played in 2007), a certain transition should happen in post-career life. Mainly, you no longer have the need to publicly disparage another player.
But since Sapp has never been capable of not talking, that’s the path of idiocy he’s chosen with Michael Strahan. Now, I understand the Sapp-Strahan feud is one that’s lingered for some time, with both sides contributing. This time it was Sapp who fired the first shot earlier in the week, saying that as this year’s Hall of Fame announcement approaches, he doesn’t believe Strahan should be selected ahead of the other top nominees (Sapp’s ballot leads with Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Charles Haley, and Marvin Harrison).
Strahan then called Sapp a coward for not approaching him personally instead of going public, and he’s right. So Sapp flung the sand back at him by claiming it’s not a personal battle, and he was just questioning the former Giants’ Hall of Fame credentials. Playing football and sacking quarterbacks is what Strahan did with his life for 15 years. When that’s attacked publicly, anyone with a pulse would take it personally.
Every shred of Sapp’s Hall of Fame decorum is quickly vanishing, especially when he’s challenging his peers to street fights:
Warren Sapp told me his reaction to Strahan calling him a coward “Pick the spot, and I’ll come see you and you can have a dose of it.”
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) January 29, 2014
He’s the worst.
A little bit of light on the Marshawn Lynch darkness
Yesterday Marshawn Lynch said as close to nothing as possible during another media session, which surprised no one, and that exercise will surely be repeated later this morning during the Seahawks’ final open mic time this week. With each period of silence, the intrigue around Lynch grows. The question is simple: why?
By now we’re all aware that he’s extremely uncomfortable with public speaking and in front of cameras, and specifically the atmosphere presented by a media scrum. That’s fine, and he’s more than allowed to have that fear. But as SB Nation’s Brian Floyd noted, watch his E:60 interview again, and jump ahead to the 2:30 mark…
Lynch’s high school coach says he’s highly guarded, and that “if you can get into that zone with him, you’re good, and he’ll love you for the rest of your life”. Then he adds “if you let him down, he holds grudges”.
Why? Lynch explains that when he was young his father would step out, and then not come back for a few days. That’s when he would start to “build up numb feelings” and expect the worst out of people.