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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Thinking the Unthinkable
March 24, 2009

PREVIOUS SIDELINE NEXT SIDELINE

Happy Birthday, Peyton Manning — 33 today! Not exactly a round number, but thirty–three can be one of those 'it's later than you think' ages, especially in the career of football. Running backs, for example, will be hearing about 'last legs' and how little 'is left in the tank'. For quarterbacks, you'd better have established your legacy by 33, or at least laid the foundations for one final push for glory.

Peyton Manning probably isn't worried too much about such stuff. With 9 Pro Bowls, a Super Bowl, and 3 league MVPs to his credit, he doesn't have much left. Much left to prove, that is. With Peyton, it's less a question of whether he's on his last legs than on his last contract. In 2006, he reworked a 2004 deal that ties him to the Colts through 2011, but franchise QB deals rarely work themselves to their conclusion without giving birth to a fresh contract, so a long time before that 2011 season — perhaps before the 2010 season (when uncapped seasons and all things strange may transpire) — the Colts are going to be deciding what happens in that contract year, when Manning is 35. How big a contract do you have to give a QB with his resume if that contract covers the over–the–hill years?

Welcome to 33–going–on–38.

I only mention all this because the Colts reportedly requested a private workout from USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, expected to go high in the draft. The Jets also made such a request — which makes perfect sense, considering the hole left by the Brett Favre dalliance — but I'm struggling to see why the Colts are taking such a special interest unless they're potentially in the market for a high pick at the position.

It might be speculated that the Colts merely want to assess Sanchez' market value in case some complicated draft–day trade happens, but it's hard to see how their no.27 pick factors into a scenario involving Sanchez. Except... if the Colts are pondering having a franchise QB in waiting behind Manning, with the intention that he sit quietly for a couple of years. The cost would be prohibitive, you would think. Except... if that allows them to part with Manning in a couple of years' time, and (most importantly) if the next generation of quarterback slid so far down the draft that his contract cost would be drastically slashed...

Well, yes, it's just wild speculation. But before we get to draft month and sensible draft proposals, let's just play with the idea. For one thing, the Colts are paying attention to Sanchez, and if they're not paying attention to Matthew Stafford, that may be because Stafford attended one of Manning's passing camps last year, because there's more game tape to look at of Stafford than Sanchez, and because Stafford is an evens bet to go no.1 anyway. It's not as if the Colts weren't at the Georgia Pro Day in any case — everybody was: 70 scouts from 32 teams.

The list of potential Round 1 QB hunters isn't short: Lions, Jaguars, 49ers, Jets, Bears, Buccaneers, and Vikings before the Colts come along. But not all teams are in love with the three potential first round QBs (Josh Freeman being the third). It's extremely unlikely that one of them falls anywhere near the Colts, but passers tumbling down round one has been a recurrent theme in recent years.

Tony Dungy's gone. Marvin Harrison's gone. Both of those things would have been unthinkable in Indianapolis once. I don't honestly think Peyton Manning is gone soon. But it would be foolish to suppose such days won't be prepared for in advance.

A Moment of Madness:
ESPN America should never be taken for granted — it's a real treat to have access to college sports just the way it is back in the States — but a Korea v Venezuela rout instead of Duke v Texas? Duke won through, and Gonzaga survived Western Kentucky, so it didn't turn into a 'Heidi'... but I'll call it a half–Heidi.

Anyway, if you were cheering the underdog this tournament, you woke up to a dead pooch on Monday morning. The East and South regions are both fielding their top 4 seeds, while the West offers a 1–2–3–5 lineup. Siena made Louisville work for it, and Cleveland State battled for a while in the Midwest, but Arizona's 12 seeding represents the only outsider there. Somehow I can't find it in me to view a Pac–10 team as a 'Cinderella'.

Oh well, back to my East–of–the–East–Coast bias. Go Nova!




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