By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Manning in the Mirror
Peyton Manning’s greatest impact on Indiana sports was not necessarily on the field itself. It was the way those performances on the field changed the sporting culture of an entire state – at least that’s the argument made by author Nate Dunlevy in his book, “Blue Blood
The Cold, Hard Football Facts never quite appreciated Manning’s cultural impact until we had “Blue Blood” read to us in adult day care.
Football fans might know Dunlevy from his great Colts blog, the former 18to88.com
and now ColtsAuthority.com
. We had the grave misfortune of meeting Dunlevy in Indianapolis a few days before the Super Bowl. We thought that Dunlevy and his drunken corn-farmer mates were going to prison shank us in the hotel room because we had the temerity once to imply that Manning did not in fact invent Tecmo Bowl.
Turns out Dunlevy was not the toothless, straw-eating, overall-wearing inbred we had envisioned during countless late night email debates. We'd show you his photo, but decorum prohibits us from the cruel and unusual punishment of our readers. Overall, pretty good guy, though. Loves pork tenderloin sandwiches
. Loves history. And he loves him some Peyton Manning.
Said Dunlevy: “I owe him my career. I've now written two books, helped to start two websites, and have a full-time writing job, and most of that was founded upon me feverishly defending him from the devilish attacks of rogues like the Cold, Hard Football Facts.”
With so much love in the room, we asked Dunlevy to list for us Manning’s greatest contributions to football in Indianapolis. Here are his responses. Everything below is in Dunlevy’s own unedited monosyllabic gibberish.
1. Peyton Manning taught Colts fans to expect to win.
He made winning routine. Indy had 3 playoff appearances and zero 10 win seasons before Manning, but picked in the top 5 of the draft NINE times from 1984 to 1998.
2. Peyton Manning taught Colts fans that the route to winning was by excelling at the forward pass.
He has thrown for more yards and touchdowns than all other quarterbacks in Indianapolis combined. Football became popular in Indiana once people saw how it was SUPPOSED to be played.
3. Manning's presence helped establish the Colts as the No. 1 team in
Indiana and football as the top sport in Indiana, to the point where even at the high school level, football outdraws basketball. People still worried about the Colts leaving town early in his career. Now they play in a new stadium.
4. Indianapolis got the Super Bowl because of Peyton Manning.
That's a huge economic and social impact for the city. You saw how much it meant to the residents. THAT'S BECAUSE OF PEYTON!
5. Manning brought back the concept of a quarterback running the offense.
In Johnny U's day, he called all the plays, but in modern football, coaches were choking the life out of teams, scripting and calling every play. Manning put control back in the hands of players.