Disclaimer: I’m not a Broncos fan. First and foremost, I stand behind the Pittsburgh Steelers…which is another post (or series of posts) in and of itself. Secondary disclaimer: I don’t love American football. I prefer futbol and EPL. So I could be wrong. But I think, for the most part, I’m not.
Last week there was quite the watch on ESPN and NFL websites as Peyton Manning went up for grabs as a free agent. Peyton seems like a decent guy. He’s a little old, but he’s got a wife that he met just before college (I’m a sucker for sweet love stories) and two kids. He does good charitable work, runs summer football camps, etc. He’s a good quarterback too.
But I really wanted Tennessee to take him.
I’m not a part of Tebow-mania. His brother attends the same school as I do, and that sort of takes the novelty out of it. I mean, they’re just real, normal people. At the same time, I do love Tebow. He makes missionary kids everywhere pretty proud. He does good charitable things, and he loves things other than football. He’s a decent quarterback too. Better than Elway was in his first season.
I was pretty sad when we traded him.
But the reasons I was upset really don’t have very much to do with what I just told you. Based on those scant thoughts, I might as well pick them based on good looks or something else trivial. No, I was upset when we took Manning and traded Tebow for other reasons.
1. This is our third quarterback in as many years. Before Tebow was Kyle Orton who had a decent couple of years before this past season. Let’s not just leave it with quarterbacks, how many coaches have we had in the past few years? The lack of stability unnerves me. You don’t build a team by throwing new players into the mix, or changing the coach every season or two. Whether or not the fans are always happy shouldn’t matter (at least not at first) because fans want celebrities and we’re obsessed with having a good show. You usually don’t make a good season out of a good show because you usually don’t make a good, solid season out of a single player. We had a chance to build something around Tim Tebow. I think we should have held onto him and given it one more season. Some stability would be good, some consistency might help to build a solid base for future seasons. Instead, we snagged Manning and we’re hoping to ride him for all he’s worth next season… which leads to another problem.
2. Next season. But what about 2013? Or 2015? Let’s be honest folks, Manning is old. He’s at the near end of his career. We signed a five year contract and all my guy friends who are much better experts than I am are all wondering if he’ll even make it that far. What if we build an entire system around Manning and he bails out because of age before we have a chance to see this through? It doesn’t make sense in the long term to take Manning.
3. What about all those kids who looked up to Tebow? I live in the inner city. You think role models aren’t important? It’s one reason that Roethlesberger really frustrates me. You shouldn’t treat your position at the head of a team, full of hype and publicity with such apathy. What about those kids who loved him, who needed a hero, who needed someone to admire? In a nation so obsessed with sports and entertainment, at least Tebow gave the kids someone decent to look at. Leaders in sports should remember the incredible influence they have on a society that pays nearly a thousand dollars for a set of season tickets.
4. $95 million. We signed Manning for Ninety-Five-Million-Dollars over five years. I don’t care what kind of a quarterback he is. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. The amount is exorbitant and it just shows our misplaced priorities as Americans (or as humans).
- That’s akin to the size of the budget gap in the City of Denver. The gap that closed governmental offices and forced city employees to take furlough days. Do you know what that money could do in my city? Do you know what it could accomplish in the refugee services? Can you imagine the educational reform? No man is worth that kind of money. I live on less than $15,000 a year and I’m paying for graduate school. He throws a football. Instead of investing that money in a player who isn’t going to last five years, why doesn’t the Bronco’s franchise do something in the city? They could act as though they are part of something more than just a sports team but a part of the community. This, I suppose, is my greatest problem. With lack of snowfall, we’re going to have a hard summer with water, with jobs, with everything. If unemployment wasn’t already a problem here, it’s going to get worse.
- The fact that we pay $95 million to a single person while we have starving people in the same city shows that we value sports and entertainment more than meeting the basic needs of humanity. I’m not talking about huge changes. I mean better services for refugees and immigrants so they can contribute to society rather than remain a burden on the cities’ budgets and resources. Or making our education system function again. I know it’s not the city that is paying for Manning’s salary but the franchise. However, I do think it shows h ow misplaced our priorities have become. The Broncos could be a part of this place, they could have helped the city. Instead, they spent money on a quarterback, and expect a city with growing unemployment and steady financial pressures to pay his income when we buy tickets we can’t afford.
I’m not angry. I think Manning could take us to the super bowl. That would be exciting for a sub-par team like the Broncos (who have long struggled to compete seriously). But I also think that something is seriously wrong with us for paying so much money to a man that does little more than run and throw a well aimed ball pretty far on the field.