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End Of An Era In Indy, Local Sports Fans Have Been Lucky

Peyton Manning
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I’ve been a sports fan since I can remember. Since I was a wee little 9-year old, I can remember watching Peyton Manning dominate the opposition as the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Today, I watched Manning and the Colts organization part ways for good. I am in no way a Colts fan, in fact the only allegiance I have with Peyton Manning is the fact he’s the brother of the quarterback for my favorite football team. But even then, I don’t hang on everything Peyton Manning does on the field.

During the press conference, I was getting rather emotional. Not nearly as emotional as Peyton or team owner Jim Irsay, who were on the verge of baby tears, but emotional regardless. I think it was because I could imagine how I would be feeling if I were a Colts fan, which there happen to be a lot of. And understanding that there are a good percentage of football fans having a very tough day because of this makes me feel for them.

We’ve been very lucky in the tri-state area. New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia sports teams are all filled with exciting athletes who we watch day in and day out. But very few are the types of players who stick with the same franchise for the duration of their career. And if they do, the worst fans have to take is the looming ‘retirement speech’. Yankee fans watched Jorge Posada’s heartfelt goodbye earlier this Winter, but it was a retirement, and it was mutual.

I think the worst possible scenario a fan has to deal with is a fan favorite who has played a majority of his career with your favorite team, only to see them leave in the twilight of their career because of contractual differences. That’s what happened with Peyton today, as well as countless times before.

Local fans have mostly seen either athletes coming in and out the door very quickly or athletes finishing out the duration of their career with the same team. I’m not including the Miami Marlins new shortstop, Jose Reyes in this discussion because he didn’t nearly as long here as some of the others.

But when will local fans be subject to this kind of nostalgic day? I don’t know, but if I had to put money on someone, it would be Derek Jeter. Jeter almost left when his last contract expired recently but the two sides came to an agreement after negotiations lasted over a month. He’s not the same player he once was, but ended up getting paid more than he is worth because he means so much to the Yankees and their fanbase.

What happens when his next contract is up in three years? If he still wants to play and the Yankees don’t want to shell out a lucrative amount of money to keep a 40-something on the roster? Will we be watching a press conference with Derek Jeter tearfully saying goodbye to the team, fans and reporters as the Pittsburgh Pirates have a contract lined up to draw new fans? Time will tell, but I think that is your best bet of seeing a Peyton-esque day here.

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