Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Leadership: Peyton Manning

My father is a huge fan of Johnny Unitas. Every time a professional quarterback fails to competently drive his team down the field for a score with under two minutes to play in a half, he throws his hands up and says, "Johnny Unitas would have taken the team right down the field! He was the best ever at the two minute drill!"

Back in Johnny U.'s day, the QB called the plays. So Unitas's genius wasn't just in his talent, but his play calling. Today, there is a new Johnny Unitas playing in a Colts uniform, but his name is Peyton Manning.

Anybody who watched last Sunday's Colts game saw a little bit of the old school. Everyone has seen highlights from the game because Manning broke Dan Marino's all-time single season TD pass mark (now 49). What was most significant about the TD was how he came to be in the position to throw the pass in the first place.

With the Colts down 8 points, staring at a 4th and 8 deep in their own territory, and fewer than three minutes left on the clock, Manning waived the punt team off the field and decided to go for it. True sign of a leader. A perfect pass for a first down kept the fledgling drive alive, and solidified Manning's status as THE best QB in the NFL, both in terms of ability and leadership. Several plays later, Manning drilled a perfect ball to WR Brandon Stokely for the record-breaking TD pass, and the score that put the Colts within a two point conversion of tying the game. After the game, Manning said he called the play that scored the crucial TD like he would on the playground, "Brandon, just run a post." It wasn't some fancy NFL route, it was just a good old fashioned run straight, turn right, catch ball. The entire sequence from 4th and 8 through the TD, to the successful two-point coversion, and finally the game-winning field goal in OT just screamed, VINTAGE!

I have been reluctant to compare Indianapolis Colt Manning to Baltimore Colt Unitas because of the circumstances of the franchise's relocation. But man-to-man, QB-to-QB, future HOFer-to-current HOFer, my eyes were opened on Sunday.

REDSKINS NOTE: The Skins lost to the Cowboys. Again. It got me to thinking today about what would happen if Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey tried to pull what Peyton Manning did on Sunday in the game's final minutes. In an email to a friend (a Ravens fan), I wrote:

How do you think it would be received if Kyle Boller or Patrick Ramsey told the punting team to get the hell off the field with 4th & 8, 3 minutes remaining, and down by 8? I'm certain of the result if it was Ramsey and [Redskins Coach Joe] Gibbs relented: 85% chance of a sack, 14% chance of an underthrown incompletion, 0.95% chance of fumbled snap, 0.05% chance of successful completion...for 7 yards.


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