Eventually, we’ll find out if the Eagles are making a big mistake by not pursuing free agent quarterback Peyton Manning. Sooner or later, we’ll find out if this decision costs the Eagles a chance to win a Super Bowl and coach Andy Reid his job.
The Eagles have made it clear that they’re not interested in signing Manning, even he’s one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and even though it wouldn’t cost them a pick in the draft or a player in a trade. They’re seemingly content to go into another season with Michael Vick as their quarterback, even though he failed to lead them to the playoffs last season.
Manning doesn’t seem to have an interest in the Eagles, either, but that could simply be because they haven’t tried to woo him. If Manning doesn’t want to come to Philadelphia because the weather is too cold or the fans are too mean or his brother is too close, well, that’s OK. But the Eagles’ reason for not pursuing him, according to Reid, is that “We’re happy with Michael.”
Well, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be happier with Peyton.
Besides, there is a precedent for this with the Eagles, and a recent one. Last year, the Eagles were happy with their cornerback tandem of Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, two Pro Bowl players, but they shocked the NFL and spent a bundle of money for the best cornerback available in free agency, Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders.
After that lightning-bolt signing, Eagles president Joe Banner grandly announced that the addition of the premier free agent in the NFL showed that the Eagles were “all in’’ in their quest for a Super Bowl championship. Well, we know how that ended up – the Eagles didn’t win the Super Bowl and didn’t even make the playoffs. There were several reasons for that and one of the biggest was the fact that Vick had a subpar season.
Asomugha didn’t have a great season, either, but he was just a passenger in the car – Vick drove it and too often he was out of control. At times he was awesome and at other times he was awful and what makes anybody think this season will be any different?
This is not meant to be a shot at Vick, a good quarterback who has come a long way in a short amount of time. But Peyton Manning is a great quarterback and that’s what you need to win a Super Bowl (which means, as painful as it is to admit, that Peyton’s little brother must be a great quarterback, too).
Quarterback has always been the most important position in football and in the NFL, which has done everything it can to enhance the passing game, it’s critical. Look at the last eight Super Bowl champions and the QBs who led the – Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (two). All of them will probably end up in the Hall of Fame someday and some of them are considered among the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
So eventually we’ll find out if the Eagles and Vick are doomed to another non-championship season or if not making a move for Peyton Manning was the best move of all. Eventually, people like me – who don’t understand why the Eagles are content with good when great is available – will have to eat crow (hopefully, with a nice white wine) or get to pat themselves on the back and say “I told you so.”
Contact Kevin Noonan at firstname.lastname@example.org