We have become a soft nation built on easy solutions. We demand convenience, rapidity and satisfaction, yesterday. Our sense of patience—threadbare to begin with– has been raped by social media, where, in a matter of moments, I can learn that my aunt just ate some really delicious chicken, Bea Arthur has gone on an inexplicable shooting rampage at a bustling cafeteria and Terry “likes” Amanda’s video of the dog smoking a cigarette.
Sports are no different.
In fact, watching a team fail year after year to field a competitive product tends to exacerbate the need for this immediacy. We live and die with each heartbreak, our tired corpses glistening with team-colored body-paint, our novelty foam fingers pointed tragically at the ground. We want our team to win NOW and OFTEN and AT ANY COST.
So in our quest to microwave the proverbial burrito of success to jarring temperatures, faster than anyone ever imagined was humanly possible, people across the city are now crying, “Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks EVER, a true winner in every since of the word, is available! Let us throw BAJILLIONS OF DOLLARS AT HIM SO HE CAN MAKE SWEET LOVE TO THE FANS OF KANSAS CITY WITH HIS TALENTED ARM AND SOUR FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.”
This, my friends, is no solution.
This is Joe Montana, Part Two (Peterson’s Revenge?). And before we break out our Zubaz and pump “Whoomp! (There It Is),” or some other equally embarrassing “Jock Jam,” let’s think about this rationally.
First, what is the BEST case scenario of the Chiefs picking up Manning? Easy. Manning is completely healthy—it’s like his neck has turned into some delightful redwood of made of flesh, a larynx and other neck-parts—and he heroically leads the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory.
Now I’m not an odds-man—I don’t understand gambling and would never pretend to—but I don’t think that Manning alone would propel the Chiefs into being next year’s favorites to win it all. Would it put them in the top 10? Eh, I suppose it could.
Best case is really simple—football has an inarguable outcome with a distinct, finite target. Peyton gets us a trophy, people line up along (*gulp*) Grand and confetti rains upon the assembled drunkards and unwashed homeless-folk alike. Additionally, we rename Claycomo “Peytonmanningville,” commission at least three bronze busts of his funny-face to sprinkle around the Plaza and change the name of the team to the Kansas City Peytons.
Everyone is happy.
So if that’s the best case scenario—creepy statues, etc.—then what’s the worst? Although it’s a little hard to pin down, it goes something like this: Manning and the Chiefs go 10-6, make it to the playoffs, beat the Jets in the Wildcard round and lose to—I don’t know, shit—the Ravens in the next.
Then Peyton either A) retires in order to spend more time wrapping $100 bills around his shaft as he masturbates, B) signs with someone else, or C) comes back for another year in which the Chiefs go 9-7 and miss the playoffs (and THEN he retires).
The Chiefs, meanwhile, who fell victim to the sexy, immediate “win-now” mode, are left with a disenfranchised Matt Cassel and an utterly hapless Ricky Stanzi. They’ve done nothing to build for the future, and it’s 15 more years of futility until an aging, decrepit Clark Hunt and a brash, unlikeable Scott Pioli Jr., sign Robert Griffin III. The once explosive Cleveland Brown legend is banged up and bruised, but ready to “give it one last go, coach.” We’ll call this one, Joe Montana Part Three: Manning-Face’s Lament.
And so on.
And so on.
And so on.
Oh, and BOTH scenarios are dependent upon whether or not Peyton is healthy. And how quickly he can shake the rust off. And how quickly he can ingratiate himself into the Chiefs’ system. And how his supporting cast responds. And whether or not they can keep him from getting pancaked on each and every snap. And whether or not Pioli can shrink his ego enough to coexist with one of the greatest NFL players ever (I mean, you’d think it’d be a cinch, but come on– we’re talking SCOTT. PIOLI).
Personally, I wouldn’t bet the farm on ANY of these circumstances coming to fruition (and most assuredly, not all of them at once).
I know that every sports fan CLAIMS that they’d trade decades’ worth of futility for one championship, but those sports fans are off of their fucking rockers. They would not. They’re liars. Give me a team who has a realistic shot year in and year out, someone worth watching in January (or June, or October), and I’ll show you a team you can support.
Selling your soul to the devil for short-term glory is only fun if you’re Faust. Doing it in the hopes that an aging quarterback coming off of a serious neck injury will save your city is simply bewildering.
Have fun in the capital, Mr. Manning. Your services aren’t wanted here.