o much happening this week in the NFL (despite the fact there are no games to be played for six months) we better just jump right in.
First things first, Peyton Manning said goodbye to the game a few months after I said right here in this column that I thought he was done. Of course in between my words and his he went and won a Super Bowl, which means he went out on top and not a whole lot of players can say that. As a Houston Texans’ fan Manning infuriated me for most of his career. All of his audibles and ensuing touchdown passes were more than most opposing fans could take. That said, I am glad he retired, but not for those aforementioned reasons. I am glad he quit because he is no longer that same player and I hate seeing a guy who is a shell of his past self still trying to compete. Both he and his legacy will be better off now that he has played his last down. While I am not a member of the group who thinks he is the greatest football player of all time (heck, I don’t even think he’s the greatest quarterback of his generation) I do want to remember him at his best, not as the noodle-armed guy of the last couple of years.
Almost as soon as Manning quit, the Broncos lost his heir apparent as Brock Osweiler signed with the Texans. It is telling how thin the NFL quarterback position is, that this signing was such a huge deal. Osweiler has started seven NFL games and he has thrown 11 touchdown passes in his four-year career. He was a fairly well regarded pick out of Arizona State, but he was hardly a number one pick. In fact, he wasn’t even a first-round pick. But when he signed with the Texans, you would have thought they’d secured the services of the 1980’s Joe Montana. The consensus I was getting from a lot of places was the addition of Osweiler, who is very unproven in my eyes, makes the Texans a Super Bowl contender. While I love the idea, I don’t see it as a sure thing. He may very well turn out to be a great player. He also could be a huge bust. However, that is the state of this position in the NFL. There are simply not enough good quarterbacks to go around, thus teams must overpay for even the chance a guy can turn into a solid, signal caller.
Speaking of quarterbacks, the Cleveland Browns ended their relationship with Johnny Manziel on Friday. This was a long time coming. Manuziel is a perfect example of the desperation for good quarterbacks. Yes, he won the Heisman Trophy, but so did Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and Charlie Ward (most quarterbacks who won the Heisman did not turn out to be particularly good pro’s, with the exception of Roger Staubach). But Manziel is undersized and has an average arm. He also has disciplinary problems which go back to his first year at Texas A&M. Yet, the Browns were willing to waste a first-round pick on him in the hopes that he would turn into the franchise quarterback they have not had since … Bernie Kosar? Brian Sipe? Otto Graham? Yeah, it’s been a long time since Cleveland had a decent quarterback. It did not work out for Cleveland, and now they, much like the Broncos, must start the process of trying to find the rarest of professional athletes, the franchise quarterback.