Opinion: Manning’s streak may end

Michael Moses

Michael Moses

Michael Moses is the sports columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Peyton Manning can’t miss a start. That’s against all religions under Lord Lombardi.

But, ya know what? Manning’s going to do the right thing because he always does.

You expect stars to want to come out and play through an injury. And of course, Manning has. He’s the modern day Brett Favre. The Cal Ripken of our football era. Manning has been the cornerstone of the Colts franchise since they made him the first overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Since then, 10 quarterbacks have been selected with the top overall selection. Fellas from Tim Couch, David Carr, Alex Smith and JaMarcus Russell, to Michael Vick and Carson Palmer. To date, those 10 quarterbacks have combined for 496 career starts.

Peyton Manning has started 208 games straight.

If you count the playoffs, he’s sitting pretty at 227 in a row.

The future hall of famer hasn’t missed a coin toss since entering the league, which is easily the NFL’s longest such streak (ironically, the second most for a quarterback is held by another Manning — the younger brother, Eli).

Though just like he does at the line of scrimmage, some things are worth an audible.

With the news circulating that Manning, the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback since 1998, will most likely miss the opening game of the season and possibly more with lingering pain from offseason neck surgery, I felt dazed and confused. It just can’t happen.

I thought about all of the other players I remembered throwing passes for the Colts. Jim Harbaugh? Eh, barely. I was sitting on my pops’ lap at that point. In recent memory, the plain and simple answer is none. There are only two quarterbacks that should be remembered as signal callers for the Colts: Johnny Unitas and Manning. And damn it, I want it to stay that way. You should, too.

All of this talk about Manning snapping his streak is crazy. Who cares about the number of games this guy can play straight? The one argument football analysts and media alike want to bring up is the all-time streak mark, owned by Brett Favre. No quarterback in today’s game will come close to Favre’s streak of 297 straight starts. Ever.

The fact that Manning made it this far should be celebrated: No. 18 walked out onto that field leading his team to battle 227 straight times, 141 times coming out on top.

It’s worth pointing out that even at age 35, Manning could have a few MVP-caliber seasons ahead of him. He still has five years remaining on his contract. Risking any injury at this point would be detrimental to his future.

He’s not thinking about this week. He’s not thinking about the streak. Manning is thinking about the future, as he should be.

In a recent interview, Manning stated: “I have to be able to competitively play. I have too much respect for football. I’ve got to be able to compete and to help my team win, and that’s what’s fair to the team, fair to myself.”

There’s not going to be any pity-party Sunday. You won’t see No. 18 strut out onto the field to take a snap in order to keep the streak alive. The man is a world class professional in a league full of me-first, team-second players.

I was eight years old the last time the Colts had a different starting quarterback. Honestly, I’d want to be 28 and still see the guy slinging passes. For that reason, as a fan — take your time, Peyton.

Streaks are made to be broken, but necks are not.