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Peyton Manning’s Botched Decision

Last week, Indianapolis Colts star quarterback, Peyton Manning, refused to sign a 5 year $100 million dollar contract with the team, opting instead to sign for $90 million. Many have praised his decision to sign for a discount as demonstrative of his noble character and concern for others. He is a team player, they claim, one who wants to win at all costs, and isn’t greedy or arrogant like many others in professional sports.

But I don’t buy it. If he was really a team player then he would have made a more substantial financial sacrifice to help his team win a championship. Given how much he makes in endorsement money, offering to take $2 million less a year is a drop in the bucket for him and is not likely to give the Colts the money they need to sign the defensive stars required to make them real Super Bowl contenders.

In my estimation, Manning’s refusal to take the more lucrative deal is based on his unwillingness to deal with the scrutiny and criticism that comes with being the highest paid player in the NFL. He doesn’t want the pressure of being paid more than his rival, Tom Brady, so he hides behind the guise of humility and concern for the team’s best interests.

I admire Manning’s demeanor as a quarterback and his willingness to accept responsibility for being a role model to young fans. His humility and earnestness is impressive for a player of his caliber. More importantly, there is no work of art as beautiful as Manning systematically exposing all the holes and flaws of an opposing team’s defensive scheme. And, frankly, I do believe that he is the best quarterback in the NFL.

Because I have such great respect for Manning’s character and talent, I think that his decision to avoid becoming the highest paid player in the NFL is a mistake and reflects a lack of leadership. At a certain point in all of our lives we must accept who we are as people, with all of our talents and creativity, and prepare ourselves for the challenges and pressures that come along with that responsibility. Yes, we can be nervous or scared of the expectations placed upon us and the additional scrutiny that we will receive as a result, but it’s an honor, privilege, and obligation to carry the mantle of being “the best.”

Manning’s reluctance to accept his team’s offer to become the highest paid player reminds me of the time when Moses initially refused to become the leader of the Jewish people. His greatness was undisputed, yet he didn’t feel “worthy enough” to take the nation out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. As great as he was, Moses was afraid of the expectations; afraid of failure and the pressures that being the leader entailed. He knew that every misstep and miscalculation would be scrutinized and criticized. He didn’t want it. He was happy in Midian, living a quiet and comfortable life. Under the guise of humility, Moses attempted to shirk his obligation of leading the Jewish people. But God didn’t let him.

The Colts front office wanted to honor Manning by making him the highest paid player in the NFL. They wanted to place the crown of leadership on their great quarterback, and for good reason: the greatest people deserve to be treated and compensated in a grand way. But he refused in the name of humility.

In actuality, his insistence on taking less money for the ‘sake of the team’ was an act of insecurity. If Manning really wanted to show true leadership, he would have been better served by taking the full $100 million dollars and using it as additional motivation to lead his team to more championships, so that when he retires, he can be rightfully considered the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

{HT: Ezra S.}



Posted in Football.

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