Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Does Peyton Manning have one last hurrah in him?

By Kshell

I mentioned yesterday the Seahawks have three options this offseason to improve the quarterback position. Yesterday I talked about if Matt Flynn is the answer for the Seahawks? Now today I'm going to talk about option number two which is signing Peyton Manning. Yes I'm talking about that Peyton Manning who has won four MVP's and a Super Bowl MVP. There is a good chance the Indianapolis Colts will be releasing Manning as they'll take Andrew Luck with the #1 pick overall in the draft. Manning despite all his great play comes with some risk as he didn't take one snap last year. Manning will also be 36 years old this March. I think Manning's risk shouldn't overshadow his ceiling which including Flynn I think he has the highest ceiling of the three options. If Manning can somehow have one last run in him the Seahawks could be Super Bowl champions in 2012 or 2013. If Pete Carroll and John Schneider decide to go with Manning this is obviously a win now move while Flynn is a win now and tomorrow move. The draft would be a win tomorrow move. Manning is a win now type of move as he might have just two years left if that of being a successful quarterback.

What the Seahawks would be gaining in signing Manning can't be described in words. They've only had one quarterback ever win a Super Bowl before coming to Seattle and that was Trent Dilfer. They've only had one for sure Hall of Fame quarterback play for the Seahawks which was Warren Moon. Only had one Super Bowl MVP play for this franchise which was Deion Branch. Manning has had a much better career than all three. Manning won back to back MVP's just two years ago. This franchise would go from being in South Alaska to being on the national spotlight with several Sunday Night and Monday Night games. What the Seahawks would get in Manning is a four-time MVP, 11-time pro bowler and five-time first team all-pro. For his career Manning has completed 64.9% of his passes for 54,828 yards(7.5 YPA) with 399 touchdowns to 198 interceptions. Manning has a quarterback rating of 94.9 and has won a Super Bowl and been to two. The Seahawks have a top 10 defense already and a pro bowl running game in Marshawn Lynch. With a good quarterback Sidney Rice has proven to be a pro bowler while Mike Williams and Zach Miller proved to be good. With this crowd noise and Manning running the offense the Seahawks could easily go from 7-9 to 12-4 and nobody would be surprised one bit. Carroll has proven he can take anything and turn it into a good defense. What hasn't been proven is acquiring a good quarterback. Of course when signing a player about to be 36 years old there are always risks.

Peyton Manning who will be 36 years old in a month is coming off a season in which he missed the entire season due to neck surgery. This isn't a torn ACL or a broken bone. This is a life and death injury that can impact Manning who has kids negatively for the rest of his life. There is a chance Manning will never play in the NFL ever again. He accomplished a lot and will go down as one of the all-time greats. He has nothing left to prove now other than that competitive fire that still obviously drives inside of him. Signing Manning could be a risk as he might never actually take a snap for the Seahawks in a regular season game. On the flip side the great quarterbacks always have one last run left in them. Manning doesn't want to go out this way where he stood on the sidelines in street clothes. This reminds me of another legendary quarterback in Joe Montana.

Back in 1990 as Joe Montana was experiencing his second straight MVP season at the age of 34 years old. During the NFC title game as the San Francisco 49ers were going towards a three-peat Montana was knocked out of the game. Montana would miss all of 1991 and only play in the last game of the 1992 season. During that time Steve Young had emerged winning the MVP in 1992. After the 49ers were upset in the NFC title game to the Dallas Cowboys at home in 1992 Montana had to be dealt. At 37 years old he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Having only played in one game in the two years prior Montana went to the pro bowl in 1993 with the Chiefs and led them to the AFC championship game where they lost to the Buffalo Bills. During that season Montana led two fourth quarter comebacks during those playoffs which is the last time the Chiefs have won a playoff game. The following season Montana  led the Chiefs to the playoffs again. During his two years in Kansas City Montana started 25 out of 32 games where the Chiefs went 17-8. He completed 60.7% of his passes for 5,427 yards(6.9 YPA) with 29 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. He would have a quarterback rating of 85.0 which is very solid. Montana wasn't at his level he was with the 49ers but he was a very capable quarterback for the Chiefs despite missing so much time prior to arriving in Kansas City. The Seahawks know first hand about acquiring an aging hall of fame quarterback as well.

The Seahawks franchise had struggled in the 1990's. After giving up on the Rick Mirer experiment after just four seasons in 1996 the Seahawks signed futurer hall of famer and ex-Husky Warren Moon to backup John Friez. After Friez went down after the first game of the season Moon took over as starting quarterback. During that season the Seahawks went 8-8 despite an offense and defense ranked in the top 10. Moon that year was selected to the pro bowl as he completed 59.3% of his passes for 3,678 yards(6.5 YPA) while leading the NFL is passing yards per game at 245.2 . He also had 25 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Moon was also named pro bowl MVP at the age of 41 years old. Moon was pretty successful for the Seahawks during that 1997 season. We have also seen Brett Favre in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings lead them to the NFC championship game at 40 years old as he threw for 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Favre was also selected to the pro bowl that year for the Vikings and his previous year with the New York Jets as the Jets went from 4-12 to 9-7 under Favre. Kurt Warner at the age of 37 years old led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008 leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. He also led the Cardinals to a division title the following year. These quarterbacks have proven that they still had a little bit left in the tank. Which is what Manning can provide for the Seahawks as well.

The Seahawks have a great opportunity to land a future hall of fame quarterback who has proven he is capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl before. Manning comes with great risk but a high reward which no other quarterback in this free agency or draft can provide. If Manning is healthy the Seahawks instantly become a Super Bowl championship team. If Manning can't play then the Seahawks will be going back to the drawing board this offseason having lost out on Matt Flynn and every quarterback in this draft. The question for Carroll and Schneider is will the upside of Manning outweigh the risk of his injury? Is Manning worth the risk of losing out on Flynn? Those are the answers that are needed before going after Manning. With Manning the Seahawks can win a title right now something this franchise has never done before. Something this city hasn't experienced since the 1979 Seattle Supersonics won a championship. This city is starving for a championship and Manning can end that dreadful streak.

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