March 2, 2012 3 Comments
When people think of Indianapolis now, they think of the Colts, the super bowl, the Pacers, basketball, and Peyton Manning. It is hard to remember Indianapolis when it was really “Naptown”. Before Peyton.
Yeah, Peyton Manning has been in the news recently. Many people have written excellent articles about what Manning has meant to the city of Indianapolis, and there have been many who have missed the point.
Nate Dunlevy wrote the best of those articles. Said Dunlevy:
His number hangs in every closet and every back come Sundays in the fall. People love everything about him, ESPECIALLY his commercials. Fail to take him seriously? The whole city has been in mourning for the past 8 months. What Weinreb read as disinterest is just emotional exhaustion. People have been dying inside since August. No, I’m not taking to the streets in Februrary. I broke down in September and cried at my desk in December. I’m spent. We all are.
There was a pocket of people that blamed Peyton that there was ‘only’ one Super Bowl. That much is true. Those people also shut up permanently after the 2011 season. What dissenters remained were forever silenced by watching the same team that had made the playoffs in 2010 completely implode without Peyton. There are no doubters left. There are plenty of people who actually blame the Colts for failing him.
Nobody has meant more to Indianapolis, or the state of Indiana, than Peyton Manning. They have never had a hero like Peyton. Bob Knight was not exactly a role model, to put it mildly. Neither was Reggie Miller. Peyton Manning is the kind of the guy you want your kids looking up to. He has always been a model citizen, and he has poured in tons of time and money into this city. His play on the field has been nothing short of spectacular. My only regret is that the Colts could not have won more for him. He certainly did everything he could.
He poured 14 years into this city. He was, and always will be Indy’s hero.
His arrival came at the perfect time, but he was also the perfect guy for a city to embrace. Bob Knight’s reign at Indiana was almost over. Hoosier Hysteria was dying rapidly. But football? It came last. Until Peyton arrived.
If you want to see Peyton Manning’s impact on Indiana, just go to a high school anywhere in the state and talk to their football coach. Kids want to play football now. They grew up idolizing a football player.
Indy has a special connection to Peyton Manning. He is Indy’s hero because he was really the first one that we ever had.
Indy loves Peyton Manning. I love Peyton Manning. We always will. Just because Peyton Manning is all but gone does not change that. Andrew Luck can never truly fill Peyton’s shoes. He could turn out to be an incredible football player, but Indy will always have a special connection to Peyton Manning.
It is hard for me to explain. You either understand it, or you don’t.
Dunlevy said that “People have been dying inside since August. No, I’m not taking to the streets in February. I broke down in September and cried at my desk in December. I’m spent. We all are.”
It is so true. I remember all the heartbreak I went through this year. And not because of the 2-14 season, but because my hero, Indy’s hero, was suddenly gone. But he will never be forgotten.
He will always be Indy’s hero.