Nothing bad about Rex or Peyton

Jan 23, 2007 6:39 AM

Like Hillary Clinton, Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman are in to win.

Both QBs (not Hillary) used to carry large monkeys on their shoulders wherever they traveled. The monkeys won’t be as prominent during the two week hype of Super Bowl XLI in Miami. But on closer inspection, you will see the monkeys are still there — just in different positions.

There’s one behind Peyton’s back, clinging by his fingernails, almost completely off but not quite gone yet. And the same with Rex, he’s still there wincing, hanging on for dear life. The monkeys are off their shoulders, but still on their back.

Both QBs saved themselves from a ton of bad press last Sunday.

Rex Grossman took his very mediocre 73.9 regular season QB rating into the playoffs with absolutely no confidence. The press and fans alike were talking about Grossman being replaced by Brian Griese in the second half of the first playoff game if "bad" Rex showed up.

Well, bad Rex was a no call, no show. Good Grossman played better in the postseason than he had in the regular season. And now the big monkey he had standing squarely on his shoulders is knocked off, dangling by his jersey. The once bad Rex has Da Bears in the Super Bowl for the first time in 20 years. Rex and Lovie will try to make Bears fans forget (at least for a few days) about how good they had it when Ditka and McMahon had them basking in the Super Bowl winner’s circle a little over 20 years ago.

Two consecutive playoff wins have bought Grossman some valuable time. He doesn’t have to worry about losing his job in the second half of the Super Bowl. I would say bad Rex is safe from the miserable fans and prickly press until at least Week 1 of next season.

If Grossman had a monkey on his shoulder, Manning’s load was an ape! It’s missing now from his shoulders.

The Colts win over the Patriots was an epic battle. One of the greatest playoff games of all time is what most fans will remember. Manning led Indy back from 21-3 down. The score at halftime was 21-6. Manning then took over. I believe what you witnessed from that point was one of the great QBs in NFL history of the NFL, rescuing his own legacy.

Manning finally beat Tom Brady. The Colts defeated the New England Patriots, a team they had never defeated before in the playoffs when it really counted. They beat a team that had won three of the last five Super Bowls. The Colts sent a team packing that had beaten them down every time the Super Bowl was on the line.

But, not this time.

Tony Dungy can finally claim victory as well. He matched wits with the genius Bill Belichick and ended up looking, well, brilliant!

The storyline was the similar going into halftime. Then Peyton decided to write a different ending. Good old boy, Peyton, led a second half charge that propelled the Colts into the Super Bowl. The QB nearly everyone in the country had been rooting for to win the big game, finally did it!

The always gracious and humble in defeat Peyton delivered the goods to Colts fans, who had been waiting, seemingly forever. The QB, who had dazzled fans with such huge numbers and befuddled them with futility in the bigger games, is finally going to the Big Dance.

I believe Manning did rescue his legacy last Sunday. There’s no doubt in my mind if the Colts had lost again to the Pats, Manning’s legacy would have been set in Brady-like stone. Peyton would have been referred to as a great QB, one who could never out-gun Brady when the big game was on the line.

But that huge ape is off Manning’s back. He’s still there, but you just can’t see him as well. He’s dangling behind his back by the fingernails.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, Peyton will get the chance of a lifetime. He will have an opportunity to swat that big monkey free and clear from his entire body.