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Peyton Manning, An Image Now In Need Of An Upgrade

A confession to make: We like dynasties. We don't like them because it's fun to watch one team win everything, because it isn't. We like them because they provide clear, distinct rooting interests and fault lines. The Patriots always beat the Colts, Peyton Manning can't figure out the Patriots, one is the smug victor, the other the feeble doomed. We like it when storylines last several years; it feels like we've earned them more.

So there will be a tiny bit of sadness to see the Peyton Manning Can't Win The Big One fade away — even if they lose to the Bears, you can't say he recedes in the clutch anymore — after the Colts' outstanding 38-34 win last night. It humanized Manning. He already seems like one of the more robotic players in sport, a socially awkward, play chart memorizing whiz kid whose only charisma is from his lack of it. ("Cut. That. Meat.") Seeing this supertalent booknerd struggle at the most important moments made him real; it made him more like a normal person. Now that he has finally come through — thrillingly — we'll have to reevaluate him. Maybe, if the Colts win, he'll become a cocky trash-talking superstar. That could be fun too, we suppose. It's something, anyway.

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But yeah: Peyton Manning drove the Colts down the field to beat the Patriots after being down 15 at halftime. Pretty impossible to argue with that.

Blue Heaven [Indianapolis Star]

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