I’ve had no less than 3 dreams in the last week about Peyton Manning. Oh, stop it. Not those kind of dreams. I fully realize that I think about Peyton more than the average girl, but even this is ridiculous for me. While I wasn’t complaining, I was a little perplexed. And then it hit me – it’s the one-year-anniversary of our break-up.
Breaking up with Peyton Manning was the hardest (sports) thing I’ve ever done. Harder than seeing Tom Brady reign victorious over us too many times. Harder than losing Super Bowl XLIV to the Saints. Harder than watching Curtis Painter take a snap. You get the idea. As if losing Peyton wasn’t hard enough, I had to sit by and watch as nearly the entire team I knew and loved was dismantled. Goodbye, Jacob Tamme. Goodbye Jeff Saturday. Goodbye Dallas Clark. Thank God Reggie Wayne stayed. He was the girlfriend I called, drunk at 2 a.m. “Why’d they leave me? Why, Reggie, why?”
A new football season came around and there were so many new faces. I promised I would give Andrew Luck a chance. I wanted him to be so much more than The Rebound Guy. Maybe you didn’t hear, but he turned out to be quite a catch. He won a few clutch games for us, led us into the playoffs, rallied around an ailing coach, participated in the community. He’s the guy that not only takes you on a date, but listens to your dumb stories, pays for dinner, and then calls you the next day. I bet he even sends flowers. For all this I could forgive him for not being Peyton. I could forgive him for the neck beard.
In short, we got damn lucky in Indianapolis. Yes, we wanted things to end differently with Peyton. Yes, we should brace ourselves for some rough seasons before we get anywhere near the Lombardi again. But still, we have it good.
For someone like me, who loves Peyton with all her football heart and soul, but has room in her heart for a guy like Andrew Luck, last season was just about the most fun I’ve ever had. I wish nothing but the best for Peyton, so to see him come back and do so well, even in another uniform, made me terribly happy. I would never wish a life-threatening illness on my worst enemy, but to see the way the Colts lifted up Coach Pagano (and an entire city) was one of the most inspiring stories in sports. It was exhilarating each week to watch the rookie quarterbacks from all around the league light up the field. It was a good season, one that healed my broken football heart – as cheesy as that sounds.
I’m still sad about Peyton belonging to another fan base. I do not think orange is his color. He is my favorite player, he is the reason I came to love football, he is a Colt. He’ll always be my first (football) love.