Week 7, Peyton Manning returns to the the team who made him an elite quarterback. But this time, not as a Colt.
Manning was selected first round in the 1998 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He then took them to 8 division championships and a 2006 Super Bowl championship, before 2011 and his neck injury, which, as you know, led him eventually to the Denver Broncos. This will be the first time visiting Indianapolis since he has signed with the Broncos. After a terrible 2011 season without Peyton that nearly ended winless (2-14), and saw the Colts have the worst season in 20 years, the Colts signed Andrew Luck. The QB from Stanford was the Colts’ first pick in the first round in 2012, as well as the first pick overall. They turned their season around with the rookie and went 11-5.
Also, the Colts are 2-0 against the Broncos in the postseason, and 5-6 in their last 11 home games against Denver. The last time these two teams met was in 2010, where Manning threw a couple game-clenching touchdowns against the Broncos’ defense to beat the them 27-13. However, Manning will not be the only ex-Colt in orange and blue this season. Former running back Lance Ball and tight end Jacob Tamme will be stepping out at Lucas Oil Stadium in something other than a horseshoe on their helmet, this time, an actual horse.
Even Joe Montana, after he joined the Chiefs, and Drew Brees, after a split from the Chargers, didn’t have to return to the stadiums where they initially found their home. Probably the only awkward return, at least that I can remember, was Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won 38-26, and Green Bay probably cried that night.
I cannot tell you what will happen in Week 7. There was a sad fan-base in Indianapolis, who may or may not have had their frowns turned upside down last season, with an 11-5 record compared to a 2-14 one. It is a town and a team who loves and respects Peyton Manning, seemingly no matter what jersey he is wearing. Of course they want Luck to take it home for them, but it is hard to hate a quarterback who did so much for your city. I can tell you one thing, Peyton is doing a lot better than Ryan Leaf, the second overall pick from 1998 draft, who is from my home state of Montana. Leaf is now serving prison time in Deer Lodge, MT for, in a nutshell, his abuse of prescription drugs.