One of the most widely-hyped games of the 2013 NFL season has been Peyton Manning's return to Indy — this time in a Broncos uniform — for a game against the Colts. Manning, after all, led Indy to two Super Bowls, winning one — and, besides, there's even a hospital here in town named after the guy. Peyton's career with the Colts ended when injury sidelined the future Hall-of-Famer for an entire season; a season that saw the Colts finish with an abysmal 2-and-14 record which was promptly followed by a complete reworking of the team.
Said reworking saw Peyton Manning eventually turn up in a Denver uniform while Indy rebuilt its franchise around first-round phenom QB Andrew Luck. Manning finished his first season in orange with 13 wins and three losses — followed by a quick exit in the playoffs to the eventual Super-Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens. Manning's second year in Denver has seen another trademark quick start for Peyton as the Broncs tore off six wins prior to their matchup with the Horseshoes.
Darren McKee — or as he's known to his listeners, 'D-Mac' — has been covering Manning for 'Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan' in Denver from Peyton's first meeting with John Elway and the Broncos. NUVO spoke with McKee about the return of #18 to the Circle City prior to the game.
NUVO: The hype machine is cranking here for Peyton's return to Indy. Does this game have the same kind of vibe there in Denver?
Darren McKee: No — Broncos fans still look at, say, beating the Patriots as something big. As a Broncos fan, do I want to beat Indianapolis? Sure, but I also want to beat Jacksonville. It's a regular season game; it's important to win every regular season game, and Broncos fans are already living in the now. When it comes to their feelings about Peyton, Colt fans are living in the past. For a Broncos fan, the next thing is the most exciting thing.
NUVO: Yeah, but the Broncos didn't cover the spread against Jacksonville...
McKee: I KNOW. Yeah, there's some problems with Denver's defense ... however, (linebacker) Von Miller's coming back. He's served his 16-game suspension for you-name-it: bad driving, Adderall, fake pee ... (all of) that's resolved itself just in time for this game. That's unfortunate for you guys, because up 'til now we've had zero pass rush.
NUVO: Okay, it's time for a little heresy here — we saw last year something we'd seen Manning do often: a fast start there in Denver, then one-and-done in the playoffs. Care to comment?
McKee: It's the biggest fear. We talk about a 16-game preseason around here.
NUVO: Yeah, I'm surprised we haven't heard Bill Polian suggest Denver should already rest Manning for the playoffs.
McKee: (Laughs) There was a columnist here in Denver who actually suggested (Manning) not even play against Jacksonville. What? The Jags were still getting paid, right? They're still professionals, as far as I know, right? Ridiculous. But back to the original question ... the bar has been set so high, it feels like just getting to the Super Bowl won't be enough. If we don't win the Super Bowl, it'll be a disappointing season.
[A+E] Sports + Recreation
[A+E] Sports + Recreation