A little dishing on sports

Peyton Manning and Stockholm Syndrome

What is the connection between Peyton Manning and Stockholm Syndrome?  I’m glad you asked.  Stockholm Syndrome describes a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.   Keep that in mind.

 I’ve always hated Peyton Manning.  Let’s be clear, of course, that like Tessio, as opposed to Michael Corleone,  this really is not personal.  Whenever I say I “hate’ an athlete, I’m speaking within the context of the sports world.  Except for Scottie Pippen.  That dude is a punk and don’t ever forget that Xavier McDaniel was two possessions away from selling Pippen for a pack of Camels in the ’92 playoffs if Jordan hadn’t stepped in to protect him.  But I digress. 

 As a young player, while his talent was undeniable, there was always something about Manning that rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe it was the way he sniped at teammates, particularly his offensive linemen when he got hit.  It’s football, dude, and if you play, just like if you cheat on Elin Nordegren, you’re gonna get hit.  Maybe it was the way he seemed to exert despotic control over the offense.  I remember once watching Tony Dungy call for the punt team on 4th and 1 and Manning actually waved them off the field.  He didn’t lobby the coach to go for the first down – he actually waved the punt team off the field, as if it was his call!  I mean, he did get the first down, but still.  Maybe it was the way he came up small in playoff games.  Remember, he lost a playoff game 41-0 to Chad Pennington, Herm Edwards and the Jets.  41-0!  His struggles against the Patriots in the postseason are well documented.  Remember when he haltingly admitted in a tortured voice in his postgame press conference one year, how they “had some problems with the protection.”  Translation: I don’t want to come across as a jerk for throwing my teammates under a bus, but hey, it wasn’t my fault, it was theirs.  I could go on and on, but you get the point, I think, which is: I was totally right to hate Peyton Manning.  That’s what you took to be the point, right?

 Anyway, somewhere along the line, something happened — not in a Mike Damone and Stacy Hamilton way (10 points to whoever gets that reference) – but something happened.  It wasn’t the year the Colts won the Super Bowl.  Manning threw a couple of passes in that title game that nearly took out cheerleaders, vendors and at least one yellow jacketed security person on the mezzanine level, so it’s not like the yips were out of his system by that point.  He was just fortunate to have been playing against Rex Grossman.  No, I think Manning fully transformed after he won a championship.   Perhaps he felt the validation that comes with winning.  Whatever it was, Manning – and don’t get me wrong, he was always a great player – elevated his game.  And then he continued to elevate it.  And then came this year when one of his receivers was forced into retirement due to the strong resemblance of his behavior to that of Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven.  Reportedly.  And then that guy’s replacement went down on the first play of the season.  His offensive line has been banged up all season and his runningbacks were less elusive than Lamar Odom trying to escape Khloe Kardashian in a club.  And yet, Manning rolled on.  He beat all comers, but even more, you knew he was going to beat all comers.  Manning was so amazing this year that he goaded resident genius Bill Belichick into going for 4th down in his own territory to avoid having to punt the ball to Manning at the end of the game because he knew that if Manning got the ball he would take his team in for the winning score. 

 Then, finally, there was Sunday’s game against the Jets when they sent every possible blitzer including the ghost of Leon Hess after Manning as J-E-T-S built a 17-6 lead.  Raise your hand if you thought there was any chance Manning wasn’t leading his team back.  I started out rooting for the Jets, but I have to admit, I started cheering for Manning as he ruthlessly picked apart the weaknesses in the Jets’ game plan and secondary.  It was liberating since I knew he was going to succeed whether I was on board or not.

After all this time, I had developed adulation for my sports captor, this guy who I had spent all these years rooting for my team to beat, the guy who had captured my sports hatred.  I always respected Peyton Manning, then I came to really, really respect him, but now, I actually like him.  I don’t know if I can pull for the Colts in the Super Bowl – I mean I haven’t rooted for an AFC team since the Cowboys last made the Super Bowl back in 1877.  But it’s on the table now thanks to my acute case of Stockholm Syndrome caused by the greatness of one Peyton Williams Manning.

In upcoming posts, I will make the case for my All-Stockholm Syndrome Team in various sports.  I’m curious, if any of my seven readers are willing to comment: whose on your All-Stockholm Syndrome Team?


6 Responses to “Peyton Manning and Stockholm Syndrome”

  1. Team or player? Team, Broncos. Player, I don’t want to admit it but initials are T.B and he is married to a model and has a baby in California from a woman whom is not his wife. That’s all I’m saying.

  2. First of all, why do you have to bring up that Damone dude. Total punk, and where are my Frampton tickets? Let’s talk about Phoebe Cates in the red bikini instead. Now I’m distracted and I forgot what my second point was.

    By the way, what ever happened to Judge Reinhold?

  3. Had to throw in a pot shot about my Boys didn’t you. You are a SERIOUS Cowboys Hater.

    Glad to see you finally came around to Manning, see, you can admit I was right all along.

  4. Forrest Whitaker happenend as well. and not me personally but I think Knicks management when they re-signed Ewing to his last contract! We could have had Reggie ;>)

  5. […] Now, I don’t mean to sell Kobe short.  He’s a 4 time champion, a former MVP and one of the mentally and physically toughest players ever in the NBA.  He’s even a member of my All-Stockholm Syndrome Team. […]

  6. […] Now, I don’t mean to sell Kobe short.  He’s a 4 time champion, a former MVP and one of the mentally and physically toughest players ever in the NBA.  He’s even a member of my All-Stockholm Syndrome Team. […]

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