Predicting the long-term effects of a crazy week in football
Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation,Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), and Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic) talk about Peyton Manning's trade to the Denver Broncos, which led to Tim Tebow going to the New York Jets.
So... Let me guess what we're talking about this week. Hmm... Spring Training is heating up. March Madness moves into full freakout this weekend, whittling the Sweet 16 to a Final Four. The NBA's "short" season is lumbering towards the homestretch. Maybe we should talk about Oklahoma City Thunder basketball. No? Um... Boxing? Mixed Martial Arts? The US swim team's chances of taking gold this summer in London?
Pffft. Yeah, right. Everyone knows there's no off-season for talking about the NFL, and this week the Neverending Football League is dominating headlines as per usual with a gargantuan quarterback shuffle. Peyton Manning announced that he is bringing his glittering resume and murky medical condition to Denver, signing a very optimistic five-year deal for $96 million.
Manning, who made it plain in Indy that he wanted no part of tutoring Andrew Luck, wasn't about to play for Denver with Tim Tebow around. The elderly former Colt doesn't need a 24-year-old quirky phenom and his zealot fans breathing down that surgically-repaired neck. That gave Broncos' GM John Elway all the excuse he needed to ship Tebow out of town.
Logically, the former Gator should have gone to Miami or Jacksonville—struggling teams in his home state. Instead, Tebow is bound for New York City, where he'll join Rex Ryan's Jets. Um... What? Barely two weeks ago, Gang Green gave a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension/vote of confidence to their current starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Now they bring in Tebow? Y4? Is he coming to town just to backup—and light a fire under—the often complacent Sanchez? Or does New York's new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano plan to use Tebow in the signature "wildcat" offense, a la Brad Smith?
How about it, fellas? Prognostication time. Are the Manning-led Broncos glory bound? Or did the team bet too much on Peyton's 36-year old neck? And what of the Jets? Who'll be under center when the season starts—and who'll be there when it ends? Here's my take: Denver meets the Jets in Super Bowl XLVII, and the entire mass-media industrial complex collapses on itself Metrodome-style from sheer weight of all the hype. Kidding. Manning won't last past the first sack by Tamba Hali.