There are a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t be a Peyton Manning fan. He played for the University of Tennessee, Florida’s biggest rival in the SEC in the 1990s. He plays for the Indianapolis Colts, arguably the Patriots’ biggest rival in the AFC over the last ten years. He doesn’t have a Hollywood, rags to riches story. You could argue that he’s never been the underdog in his life.
And yet, I have a hard time holding a grudge against the guy. He always seems to say the right things in public, and he’s far and away the funniest player/commercial pitchman in the NFL.
Sure, you could say he’s a product of the guys that write for him… but there are dozens of guys in the NFL who undoubtedly have the benefit of the same writing… and still perpetuate the stereotype of the dumb football player.
Then there’s Tony Dungy. In many ways it pains me to see how big a mistake the Bucs made these last five years or so. (Would you take five years of losing for a SuperBowl an a snarling coach who’s harder to like than Nick Saban? In hind sight, I’m not sure I would.)
It looks like the good guys won. There’s something to be said for that.