Average Thoughts From An Average Sports Fan 7-2-12

Posted July 2, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL

Tags: , , ,

New Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry should win the “GM Of The Year” award.  Yes, I know we’re in the middle of the off-season, but what this guy has accomplished in less than a week on the job is awe inspiring.

Today Ferry pulled the ultimate jedi mind trick when he convinced Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King to take on the remaining 4 years and nearly $90 million dollars left on Joe Johnson’s over paid contract.

Who care’s who the Hawks got in return.  The fact that they no longer need to pay Johnson like he’s Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose  is reason enough for Ferry to douse himself in champagne like he just won a championship.

To top the day off, Ferry then pulls off his second jedi mind trick of the day by dumping draft bust extraordinare Marvin Williams on the Utah Jazz in exchange for point guard Devin Harris, a former all-star.  Williams and Harris make roughly the same amount of money but Harris is entering the final year of his deal while Williams still has two years remaining.

Taking on Joe Johnson’s contract is the type of decision making that GM’s should lose their job over.  If I was Mikhail Prokhorov I would call King into my office and break him off like I was Donald Trump in an episode of The Apprentice.

The NBA:  Where bad contracts happen.  For further proof of that please see the  Houston Rockets signing of Chicago Bulls Center Omer Asik to a three year, $25.1 million offer sheet.  Someone please tell me again why Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is considered such a genius.  I’ll be sitting here patiently waiting for a worth while answer.

Is anyone else sick of Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard?  I’m completely over this guy constantly changing his mind.  First he wants to get traded.  Next he says he wants to stay in Orlando and even decides to use his player option to stay for another year.  Now he wants to go to the Nets and only the Nets.  Mr. Howard, you’re a grown man who is going to make more than $18 million next season.  Quit your whining, shut up and play basketball!  Enough of you already!  To borrow a line from a tweet I read, “people can say all they want about Lebron James but at least he made a decision.”

Nice to see the Dodgers finally score some runs and pick up a 8-3 victory on Sunday over the New York Mets.  Without Kemp and Ethier this everyday line up is downright awful.  I know several of those runs yesterday were gift wrapped by New York who was doing their best Bad News Bears imitation but after all the Dodgers have been though the last dozen or so games I will take it.

In other Dodger related thoughts, getting shutout all 27 innings of a three game series against the hated San Francisco Giants has to be the darkest day ever in the proud, rich history of Dodger baseball.  It’s one thing to get swept but far worse to get shutout in all three games by your hated rivals.  I know the Dodgers count on us fans for support but could you please support us by scoring one freaking run in a three game series against the Giants?

Now that I got that off my chest, I’m excited about this new Dodgers ownership and it’s great to see them involved in player signings and trade talks again after the whole McCourt debacle.  They recently had a deal in place for Houston Astros first baseman and outfielder Carlos Lee but Lee decided not to waive his no trade clause and I’m not disappointed in the least.

At 36 years old Lee only has 5 home runs and 29 RBI through 64 games played this season.  His power years are clearly behind him and if he doesn’t have that I don’t think he does the Dodgers any good.  Although they didn’t get what they wanted, I believe Magic and company will ultimately find the right guy and it will happen sooner rather than later.

Much to the dismay of my “The Average Joe Show” co-host Joe Arrigo, i’m going to just come right out and say that right now I think Mike Trout is better than Bryce Harper.  Both players are undoubtedly legit and going to be carrying the flag for major league baseball for the next decade but the stat’s don’t lie and other than triples, Trout’s numbers are better across the board.  I know Trout has the better line up protection but at the end of the day he still has to execute and so far he has and better than his rookie counterpart.

My beloved Stanley Cup Champions (don’t think I’m not going to milk that for all it’s worth in the next year) Los Angeles Kings re-signed forward Dustin Penner to a one year, $3.25 million.  I know he was an important piece in the Kings run to their first ever championship but in the regular season he flat out sucked.  Let’s face it, Penner picked up his paycheck with a gun and ski mask.  I think $3.25 million is a bit much but I take solace in knowing that it’s just for one season.

Congrats to Spain for shutting out Italy 4-0 to take home the Euro Cup.  A great day for the Spaniards no doubt.  This American would be lying if I said I cared or watched even a minute of the tournament for that matter.  Call me in two years when the World Cup comes around because that’s the only soccer event that matters.

The NFL season is a little more than a month away with the Cardinals and Saints set to take each other on in the Hall of Fame Game on August 5.  In case there was any doubt, I am extremely excited about that.  Not for the pre-season games but to know that another football season is right around the corner.  I’m sorry but if you don’t like football you’re simply un-American.  Dare I say, even a communist.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Listen to “The Average Joe Show” every Tuesday from 8 -9 PM Pacific on blogtalkradio.com/the-average-joe-show

Follow the show on twitter @theavgjoeshow

Follow my twitter account @joepacheco4

Follow my co-host Joe Arrigo @joearrigo

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The Greatest Day Of My Sports Life

Posted June 15, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: NHL

It was a day I had waited over 30 years for.  Year after year I had hope that this year would be the year.  My head knew when they had absolutely no chance, and it also knew when they had a good chance.  No matter what my head said my heart always believed there was a chance for a dream to come true.

Finally on June 11, 2012 my dream became a reality.  With a 6-1 defeat of the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Los Angeles Kings had finally reached the pinnacle of the hockey world.  They had become the Stanley Cup Champions!

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t just a team I root for, they are part of my DNA.  They are woven into the very fabric of who I am, not only as a sports fan but as a person.  They are my favorite team amongst all my favorite teams in each respective sport.

The Kings are another member of my family.  My father and uncle have been fans of the team since their inception in 1967, and they passed their passion for the Kings on to myself, my brother, and many of my cousins.

I first fell in love with the Kings when my father would take my brother and I to games at the Forum in the mid 1980’s back when guys like Marcel Dionne, Bernie Nicholls, Terry Ruskowski, Jim Fox, and Brian Engblom wore the not so attractive “Forum Blue and Gold” uniforms.

To say those teams weren’t very good was a understatement as they either didn’t make the playoffs or were bounced in the first round.  The Kings were definitely one of the worst franchises in the NHL.  While the results on the ice were lacking, the passion from the fans was not.  More so than when I went to Dodgers games or other sporting events, the loyalty from Kings fans was second to none, and I knew that I wanted to be part of it for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to the late 80’s and early 90’s.   Wayne Gretzky came to LA in a blockbuster trade, the uniforms changed to silver and black and for the arguably the first time in their history, the Kings were regarded as a respectable franchise.  Like all Kings fans I felt as though a Stanley Cup championship was inevitable.  With the greatest player in the world finally on our side instead of against us, how could a championship not be?

The 1993 season was magical.  With players like Luc Robitaille, Tomas Sandstrom, Tony Granato, Jari Kurri, Rob Blake and Kelly Hrudey playing alongside the “Great One” the Kings made a magical run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final where they faced the Montreal Canadiens.  After a 4-1 victory in Game One and a 2-1 lead with two minutes to go in Game Two, I was starting to taste the Cup.

Then the unthinkable happened.  Kings defenseman Marty McSorley was penalized for having an illegal curvature in his stick.  Montreal scored to tie the game on the ensuing power play and then won in overtime.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  I felt like the Trix Rabbit when he was told that Trix were for kids.  Except this time the Hockey Gods had told me, “Silly Kings fan, the Stanley Cup is not for the sun and palm trees of Los Angeles.”

My beloved Kings eventually lost the series in five games, losing game’s 3 and 4 in overtime.  Despite the disappointment, I felt like the Kings had arrived on the scene and would be a cup contender for years to come.  Little did I know…

In between there were many more years of disappointment filled with no trips to the playoffs or first round exits on the rare occasion they got to the postseason.  It was like reliving the mid 80’s all over again.  I never stopped rooting with every ounce of my being, but like many Kings fans I would sometimes ask, “Is it ever going to happen?  Am I ever going to watch my team skate with the Stanley Cup?”

Fast forward 19 years to the 2011-2012 NHL season and I can now finally answer the word “YES!!!!”  to that question.  Not only did it happen, but it happened in one of the most unlikely yet dominant postseason runs in the history of the NHL.

The Kings went 16-4 en route to their first ever Stanley Cup championship defeating the top three seeds in the Western Conference, and in the Finals they defeated a team in New Jersey that had won three Stanley Cups since 1995 with a future hall of fame goaltender in Martin Brodeur.

Not only did they win hockey’s ultimate prize, but they did it in the truest sense of the word team.  17 different players scored at least one goal along the way.  Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick set playoff records by having a goals against average of 1.41 and a save percentage of .946.

As the final minutes were winding down, I thought about all the years of disappointment that were now erased.  No longer will I be haunted by Kings teams with really good players who underachieved.   No longer will I be bitter about McSorley’s curved stick and the disappointment of 1993.  No longer will I feel inferior to fans that have experienced the glory of watching their team skate with the greatest trophy in all of sports.

As I watched the final minutes of the game I thought about my parents taking me to games as a kid.  I called my father to share the moment with him.  I thanked him for making me a hockey fan and I told him I loved him.  I called my brother and one of my cousins just to say, “I can’t believe it finally happened.  The Kings are the champs!”

I yelled in pure joy several times as I saw the streamers come down from the rafters.  I clapped until my hands were sore as Captain Dustin Brown lifted the Stanley Cup high above his head in the most triumphant moment in franchise history.  This was the moment I had dreamed about coming to life right before my very eyes and let me tell you, it felt better than I could have ever imagined.

Watching the Kings win the Stanley Cup was the greatest day of my life as a sports fan.  Better than the numerous Laker championships I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy.  Better than the underdog Dodgers winning it all in 1988.  Better than anything in sports.

Kings radio announcer Nick Nickson said in the closing seconds of the Cup clinching game, “The long wait is over.  After 45 years the Kings can wear their crown.  The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup!”

Thank you Kings for letting me share in the moment of your crowning achievement.  It’s a moment that will live with me for the rest of my life.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

Follow my radio show on twitter @theavgjoeshow

Goodbye 55

Posted May 2, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: NFL

There I was at work, taking my lunch break and checking out some news headlines when I read the following three words  in Yahoo’s trending section, “Junior Seau Dead”.

My jaw dropped.  I was completely stunned and in a state of disbelief.  My first thoughts were that it was of some sort of vehicle crash.  I clicked over on the topic to read the headlines on Seau’s passing.  It was there I became completely saddened to learn the early evidence was indicating that Seau’s passing was a suicide due to a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest.

All I could think about was the family and friends left behind to pick up the pieces of this senseless tragedy.  How could a man at the age of 43, who was not only the face of a franchise, but the face of the city of San Diego during his time with the Chargers reach such a low point that he chose to take his own life?

My thoughts and prayers to Seau’s loved ones as they try to cope with this senseless tragedy.  May all of them find the closure and peace they deserve.

Here was someone who seemed to have it all.  He had fame, fortune, a hall of fame football legacy on both the professional and college level along with a successful business.

He was beloved by thousands who never knew him on a personal level.  He touched the lives of countless football players of all ages.  By many accounts, he was a great teammate and citizen in the community.

On the field he was the epitome of how the game should be played.  Seau played with a non-stop passion and energy from opening kick off to final whistle, regardless of score.  This is the Junior Seau I will  remember as I continue to process his tragic death.

I am a Raider fan and I grew up rooting for UCLA.  As far as rivalries go I couldn’t have been more opposite of Seau.  He was always wreaking havoc on the teams I loved.  He played with a non-stop motor.  His tackles were relentless.  His enthusiasm and passion were matched by few.  Whether you rooted for him or against him (as I often did), there was no doubt that you were watching one of the greatest to every play the game.

This is the Junior Seau I will remember.  Thank you for giving us the privilege to see you play the game the right way.  Thank you for entertaining us for countless hours on both Saturday and Sunday.  Thank you for having been part of the generation of football players I grew up admiring.

Goodbye Junior Seau and may you find the peace you’re looking for.  All of us who have memories of your passionate play between the lines and your positive encounters outside of it will forever miss you.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

 

 

 

Next Stop The Second Round

Posted April 23, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: NHL, Uncategorized

The roller coaster which has been the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings season continued Sunday night in a series clinching 2-1 overtime victory over the top seeded Vancouver Canucks.

Jarrett Stoll’s game winner at 4:27 of the extra period propelled the eighth seeded Kings into the second round for the first time since the 2001 season where they will face the second seeded St. Louis Blues.

This series saw all the ingredients which had contributed to the Kings season long success. Strong play by goaltender Jonathan Quick, solid defense, aggressive forechecking, physical play and timely offensive contributions from several lines. In short it was a total team effort.

What makes this victory so satisfying is the Kings have not been without their share of adversity. Since being eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2011 playoffs Los Angeles has endured the firing of head coach Terry Murray, fans calling for the head of General Manager Dean Lombardi after two controversial trades and a flat out terrible offensive showing that saw the Kings at or near the bottom of the league in the goals scored department all season long.

To cap things off the Kings final two games of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks saw them blow leads in both games resulting in the loss of a division title, a fall in the playoff standings from three to eight and a first round match with the Vancouver Canucks who finished the regular season 16 points better than Los Angeles.

Despite all this the players never stopped believing in themselves or the philosophies of current head coach Darryl Sutter. They showed determination, heart, grit and toughness in the dispatching of Vancouver in five games.
The tone for all of the above traits was set by the play of Kings captain Dustin Brown. Throughout the series he proved why he wears the “C”. Whether it was two shorthanded goals in game two or his message sending hit on Henrik Sedin in game three, Brown never backed down from the physical play while showing the heart of a leader. Hard to believe the Kings reportedly considered trading Brown earlier this season.

Brown lead the charge offensively while goaltender Jonathan Quick continued his season long all-star level play. Quick made big save after big save and turned the tide in the game five clincher when he stopped Daniel Sedin on a second period breakaway to keep the Kings within one goal. Quick finished the series with a record of 4-1, a goals against average of 1.59 and a save percentage of .953.

I have rooted for Kings my entire life. I wasn’t alive when Rogie Vachon was making his name in Kings history. I do however remember goaltenders like Markus Mattsson, Kelly Hrudey, Glenn Healey, Felix Potvin and Dan Cloutier. If I say nothing else with more sincerity about the Los Angeles Kings than what I’m about to write next it’s this…”I thank the hockey gods daily for Jonathan Quick!” Let me repeat this, “I thank the hockey gods daily for Jonathan Quick!!!”

Without his play the King season would have been a epic disaster. He won 35 games this year. The Kings scored the second fewest goals of any team in the NHL this season. Imagine how many Quck could have won if the Kings finished in the middle of the standings or higher.

Because of Quick and the defensive play in front of him Los Angeles has proved it can compete with any team remaining in the postseason. The only question is can the offense score enough?

Don’t get me wrong, I want a Stanley Cup for the Kings more than anything. That being said, my definition for success for this years team was an appearance in the second round. After two first round exits the previous two years preceded by a decade of no postseason hockey I felt that was a reasonable goal given the talent of the team along with recent accomplishments.

For this fan the 2011-2012 season is a success regardless of what happens from here on out. Starting this weekend and who knows for how long, the Kings are playing with house money.

But let’s not stop there, let’s continue to dream and think big in Tinseltown. A championship CAN be won here. A June parade down Figueroa to celebrate the accomplishments of a hockey team IS possible. A first round elimination of the team with the best regular season record was a crowning achievement but a Stanley Cup would be the ultimate jewel in the crown.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

Glad To Have You Back Baseball

Posted April 3, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: Uncategorized

Opening day of a sports season is for many the greatest day of the season.  Whether you’re a fan of the NFL gridiron, NBA hard wood or MLB diamond nothing beats the start of a new beginning.

Past failures are forgotten as each season begins with a sense of hope and optimism.  Deep inside every fan lies a belief that this is the year their dreams will come true.  Every fan feels their team has a chance to achieve something special, whether it’s being in the playoff hunt until the final games of the season, making their annual appearance in the postseason or standing alone at the top of the mountain hoisting the championship trophy.

As you know I love all the major sports whether it’s professional or college.  Maybe it’s because it was the first sport I ever followed as a child but nothing gives me the sense of excitement that opening day baseball does.  As I write this sentence, I feel a sense of Christmas eve like euphoria.

Last week I got the equivalent of a night before Christmas gift when Oakland and Seattle opened the season in Japan.  Starting tomorrow and continuing through the end of the week I get to unwrap all the other presents baseball has to offer one game at a time.

I love the athleticism of baseball as much as I love the unique mental strategy the game has to offer.  No other sport combines athletic qualities that include hand eye coordination, powerful arm strength, quick reflexes, speed and power like “America’s Past Time”.  In addition to all the necessary physical qualities, everyone involved with the game has to be mentally sharp in order to stay a step or two ahead in order to make the best decision.

I love baseball for it’s unique ability to make drama unfold.  For a classic example of great baseball drama you only need to go back no further than Game Six of last year’s World Series between St. Louis and Texas that saw Cardinals third baseman David Freese steal the “World Series Hero” tag from Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton within one inning.  The entire balance of a game hangs on one pitch and we all witnessed that last October.

Last year gave us a lifetime of memories but this year is sure to do more of the same.  There is so much to be excited about this season.  Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols left the Cardinals after more than a decade of dominance to join the Angels.  Long time all-star Brewer first baseman Prince Fielder followed in his father’s foot steps when he signed with the Detroit Tigers.  The Yankees and Mariners swapped two of the top young players in the game when the Bronx Bombers sent Jesus Montero to Seattle for Michael Pineda.  The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins and begin their new era with a brand new stadium.  Of course there’s the yearly renewal of traditional battles between the Yankees and Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers as well as Cardinals and Cubs.

In addition to all the things I just named, what makes me the most excited about the new season is that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally have a proper ownership group.  The ownership group, lead by my all-time favorite Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson along with former Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten are the perfect group to lead the the Dodgers back to their winning ways.

For the past couple of seasons Dodger news had very little to do with the play on the field, but almost all to do with the ugly divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt which lead to financial ruins for the team and a product on the field that was not fun to watch.

It’s amazing how exciting a fan can get when they realize their team can once again be involved in adding a little payroll, bidding on free agents and making trades to improve their club.  Sometimes it’s the little things in life that are the most rewarding.

If Magic and Kasten can give us even half the success they achieved in their previous endeavors, Dodger fans will surely forget the past years of feeling blue and will regularly experience the euphoria of being in blue heaven.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

Glad To Have You Back Baseball

Posted April 3, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: MLB

Opening day of a sports season is for many the greatest day of the season.  Whether you’re a fan of the NFL gridiron, NBA hard wood or MLB diamond nothing beats the start of a new beginning.

Past failures are forgotten as each season begins with a sense of hope and optimism.  Deep inside every fan lies a belief that this is the year their dreams will come true.  Every fan feels their team has a chance to achieve something special, whether it’s being in the playoff hunt until the final games of the season, making their annual appearance in the postseason or standing alone at the top of the mountain hoisting the championship trophy.

As you know I love all the major sports whether it’s professional or college.  Maybe it’s because it was the first sport I ever followed as a child but nothing gives me the sense of excitement that opening day baseball does.  As I write this sentence, I feel a sense of Christmas eve like euphoria.

Last week I got the equivalent of a night before Christmas gift when Oakland and Seattle opened the season in Japan.  Starting tomorrow and continuing through the end of the week I get to unwrap all the other presents baseball has to offer one game at a time.

I love the athleticism of baseball as much as I love the unique mental strategy the game has to offer.  No other sport combines athletic qualities that include hand eye coordination, powerful arm strength, quick reflexes, speed and power like “America’s Past Time”.  In addition to all the necessary physical qualities, everyone involved with the game has to be mentally sharp in order to stay a step or two ahead in order to make the best decision.

I love baseball for it’s unique ability to make drama unfold.  For a classic example of great baseball drama you only need to go back no further than Game Six of last year’s World Series between St. Louis and Texas that saw Cardinals third baseman David Freese steal the “World Series Hero” tag from Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton within one inning.  The entire balance of a game hangs on one pitch and we all witnessed that last October.

Last year gave us a lifetime of memories but this year is sure to do more of the same.  There is so much to be excited about this season.  Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols left the Cardinals after more than a decade of dominance to join the Angels.  Long time all-star Brewer first baseman Prince Fielder followed in his father’s foot steps when he signed with the Detroit Tigers.  The Yankees and Mariners swapped two of the top young players in the game when the Bronx Bombers sent Jesus Montero to Seattle for Michael Pineda.  The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins and begin their new era with a brand new stadium.  Of course their’s the yearly renewal of traditional battles between the Yankees and Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers as well as Cardinals and Cubs.

In addition to all the things I just named, what makes me the most excited about the new season is that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally have a proper ownership group.  The ownership group, lead by my all-time favorite Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson along with former Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten are the perfect group to lead the the Dodgers back to their winning ways.

For the past couple of seasons Dodger news had very little to do with the play on the field, but almost all to do with the ugly divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt which lead to financial ruins for the team and a product on the field that was not fun to watch.

It’s amazing how exciting a fan can get when they realize their team can once again be involved in adding a little payroll, bidding on free agents and making trades to improve their club.  Sometimes it’s the little things in life that are the most rewarding.

If Magic and Kasten can give us even half the success they achieved in their previous endeavors, Dodger fans will surely forget the past years of feeling blue and will regularly experience the euphoria of being in blue heaven.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

A Unfortunate End To A Brilliant Era

Posted March 8, 2012 by Joe Pacheco
Categories: NFL

It’s one of the toughest about things being a owner, coach, fan, athlete or anyone else who has a passion or involvement in sports.  The day that player becomes a part of your team can be one filled with excitement, joy and hope.  Along the way can be a roller coaster ride filled with the unfolding of historic plays leading to memorable victories, record setting performances, heart breaking losses and agonizing defeats.  If you’re lucky you get to experience the pinnacle of sports and that’s winning a championship immortalizing your team among the greats of history.

The era of Peyton Manning as a Indianapolis Colt experienced all of the above with the apex coming in the form of a Super Bowl XLII championship.  In the 14 years Manning wore the Colts trademark blue and white after being the number one overall pick back in 1998, he established himself as arguably the greatest quarterback of his era and a certain first ballot hall of famer when he eventually calls it a career.

Manning took the Colts from the ranks of the laughing stocks of the league to a perennial playoff team and one of the toughest forces to be reckoned with in the 2000’s.  He carved up defenses with precision like accuracy.  He made good receivers in to great ones and made great ones into pro bowlers.  His ability to play the position while practically doing the job of an offensive coordinator was unlike anything most of us have ever seen before.

But like all athletes the reality of father time began to set in.  Manning got older and the injuries, despite costing him zero games, started to take their toll.  Doctors performed three neck surgeries in a 18 month period and Manning after not missing a game in his entire career sat out the entire 2011 season while trying to recuperate from the wear and tear of a physically violent career.

When a situation like Manning’s rears its ugly head, we’re all reminded of the sometimes ugly business side of sports where everyone is replaceable and executives begin to really look at the players as dollar figures.

This was the case for Colts owner Jim Irsay.  He had to make a decision.  Commit $28 million dollars in guaranteed money to the now 36 year old Manning despite not having a clear outlook on his future ability to play the game at a high level or turn the page and bring a franchise defining era to its end.

On Tuesday, March 7, 2012 at an emotion filled conference, the Colts announced that decision.  A 14 year chapter was coming to an end and for the first time since the 1997 season, Manning would no longer grace the Colts sideline.  It was like Michael Jordan leaving the Chicago Bulls or Wayne Gretzky leaving the Edmonton Oilers.  It was a “I remember where I was when…” moment.

In a perfect world, Peyton Manning would’ve only played for one team in his career.  That would’ve been the story book, Hollywood ending to a spectacular career.  Unfortunately this isn’t a story or a movie but sometimes cruel reality.  Between the three neck surgeries, Mannings age, money saved and quarterback  prospects available at the top of the draft, the Colts absolutely made the right decision.  Not the easiest or most popular decision but the right one.

Both sides will move on.  We have not seen the last of Manning in a football uniform as he looks to usher in a new era of success for a different NFL franchise and chances are blue chip prospect Andrew Luck will achieve many years of success and establish his own era of Indianapolis Colts football as their new quarterback much like Manning before him.

As the old saying goes, “all good things must end”.  Too bad for Manning and the Colts it wasn’t when or how we all thought it would.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

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