Peyton Manning Overshadowing Super Bowl
by Trevor Whenham - 2/1/2012
The scenario was supposed to play out like a fairy tale. The Super Bowl was set for the non-traditional setting of Indianapolis. The Colts have the best quarterback on the planet. He was supposed to lead his team to a victory at home.
As you well know, the fairy tale has turned into a nightmare. Manning missed the whole year with a neck injury, the Colts were impossibly bad for most of the season, and now Manning is being pushed out of town by the “next Peyton Manning”.
Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Colts, and the timing couldn’t be worse for Manning. He’d much rather be in the game, and he’d probably settle for quietly watching his brother. Instead, he’s the biggest story there is during this Super Bowl week, and he’s overshadowing every other storyline out there.
The impact of the Manning story on this Super Bowl week is significant, but it’s nothing compared to what impact his story is going to have for bettors throughout the offseason and heading into next year. Let’s look at the future from four different angles:
He’s not going to be a Colt
Manning is not a young man, and he’s certainly not getting younger. By his age a lot of quarterbacks are done — or getting close to it. He’s coming off a very serious injury, and there is no certainty at all that he’ll be able to play at all again, or that he’ll be up to his familiar caliber if and when he does.
It would be hard for the Colts to commit to him going forward given the circumstances at the best of times. It would be all but impossible for them to commit to him when they need to pay a $28 million bonus on March 8 to keep him. That’s before they can get an accurate medical assessment of where Manning is at.
No team is positioned to gamble with $28 million, but the Colts are less able to do so than teams in bigger markets. They also can’t afford to tie up the cap space they would have to for both Manning and Luck — no team can invest that much in one position, never mind a team with so many other needs. There is virtually no way that Manning stays where he is.
Andrew Luck is going to be a Colt
This one is just as certain. The team has given every indication that they will take the Stanford quarterback. Even if they hadn’t, though, they would have no choice but to take him.
He’s a very special prospect — unlike one we have seen in a long time. Imagine the grief that the Texans got over not taking Reggie Bush first overall and multiply it by 20 and that’s the firestorm that would be created if they passed on Luck.
No player is a guaranteed star, but Luck is closer than most, and the perception of passing on him would be disastrous. They know that they couldn’t get anything that would be perceived as value in exchange for him.
More significantly, there is no reason the Colts wouldn’t want Luck. He plays a game reasonably comparable to Manning, but he’s much younger. Having a franchise QB to build around worked out very well the first time for the Colts, so they aren’t going to miss out on the opportunity to do it again.
Manning, Chapter 2
Manning says he has no intention of retiring. That means that he is very likely to start next season for another team. It will be incredibly strange seeing him in a new uniform — like Montana and Favre before him. Perhaps more than those other situations, though, the betting impact of his move will be insane.
There are several teams that need quarterback help, and many teams that would be happy to have Manning under center for them. The potential of Manning’s arrival may already be factored into the futures odds for teams that are perceived as likely landing spots. That’s not likely to be significant, though, because there is no clear leader for his services — assuming he hits the market at all.
Once Manning does find a new team, though, or even when a front runner or two emerges, the impact on the futures odds will be dramatic. Manning is one of the rare players who can significantly impact lines himself.
For bettors that means two things. First, if you like any teams that he could land on enough to invest in futures you’ll want to do so sooner rather than later because any value will disappear as soon as the public gets hold of things. Second, you can be certain that the public will dramatically overcompensate in futures odds and in the lines of early games for the impact of Manning.
He’s the ultimate pro, but he’ll be coming back from a serious injury and a full year off, he’ll be entering a whole new system, and he won’t have chemistry with anyone around him. The upside will be high for him, but the risk is even higher, and the public won’t come close to adequately compensating for that.
You’d have to have a very, very good reason to bet for him with futures or on the early games.
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