From the FanPosts. -Chris
Mr. Manning, I’d like to just start by acknowledging how much I respect you as a QB. You’re a thinking man’s QB, a meticulous student of the game with an innate cerebral gift to diagnose defenses and make proper reads in fractions of a moment. Whichever team you end up choosing will be blessed to have someone of your caliber as part of their team. And since you are such an intelligent and well-researched man, I have little doubt that you’ll consider those teams that make the most compelling case. I’m confident that after you’ve seen the case made for the Kansas City Chiefs, you’ll agree that there is no better place for you to finish your career.
So let us begin.
The Pay: You’re an elite NFL QB, and will go down as the greatest QB in NFL history in more eyes than not. Of course, money is not the primary concern for you at this point in your career, but you nonetheless deserve a level of compensation commensurate with someone of you experience, talents, and intangibles. Some of our rumored competitors would have to restructure contracts in order to accommodate your salary. We think that’s a disservice to you, as it may lead to some resentment of you.
You’re the QB, the leader of the team and the locker room, and having to deal with resentment from fellow players will complicate your efforts, especially in that transition period where gaining a level of comfort with your teammates is so critical. In Kansas City, we can afford to pay you handsomely without having to sacrifice the pieces around you to fit a square peg into a round hole. Moreover, we’ve already locked up much of our young talent for the long haul, and will be in good position to lock up others that merit such for the long term in future seasons. Due to our significant cap space this year, we can frontload your salary, which offers you greater financial guarantees, and simultaneously frees up future cap space to add pieces around you as need dictates in future seasons. Now, I also want to address your financial revenues outside of football.
You’ve become a household name not just for your talents on the field, but for your talents in front of a camera. Your easy-going charm, your affable personality, and your gift for delivery of clean and wholesome humor have made you into a star in the national culture outside of football. These endorsements are to be cherished, nurtured, and grown. But one of the potential suitors for your services has a QB that has quite the national following due to his back story, and I fear that if you supplant him, you may be resented by a significant chunk of people who identify with this QB for his devout beliefs and active missionary work.
This could have an adverse impact upon your marketability as a celebrity spokesperson. And I must admit that on a personal level I’d find that unfortunate because you clearly have a gift as an entertainer apart from sports.
The Team: The rumors out there are that pay is a secondary factor in your decision. That makes sense, as you’ve made a lot of money in your career from both football and endorsements, and someone of your intelligent and well-studied temperament seems like the type who would manage his money well. My understanding is that you want an opportunity to compete for championships for all of your remaining years. We can offer you that.
As I already stated above, we have locked up a good deal of our young nucleus of players. Among them, we have a young and talented secondary anchored by stars like fellow Volunteer Eric Berry and lockdown CB Brandon Flowers. We have one of the NFL’s most prolific pass rushers in Tamba Hali. And we have a pro bowl ILB in Derrick Johnson who has emerged as one of the best ILBs in the game.
This defense doesn’t surrender points easily. It is orchestrated by a man you know all too well in Romeo Crennel, who has consistently put together impressive game plans and defensive staffing groups. This defense was in the top half of the league statistically even though the offense struggled mightily last season after losing two of its top producers early in the year and being unable to move the chains and give the defense its rest.
Let’s talk about that offense though. We have a deep and talented WR corps. Dwayne Bowe led the league in TD receptions last year and has a penchant for making impressive catches. On the other side, you’ll have first round draft pick Jonathan Baldwin who has shown some impressive flashes of his potential during the last half of the season. Additionally, you’ll have a seasoned veteran in Steve Breaston who has experience with elite QBs coming to new teams as he was one of Kurt Warner’s targets in Arizona’s Super Bowl run season.
You’ll also get back two big components of the offense that we sorely missed last season. Tony Moeaki has shown he can make some impressive catches, and he has the type of athleticism that reminds us Chiefs fans of Tony Gonzales in his youth. We think you’ll find him a good substitute for your former teammate Dallas Clark. Finally, we’ll be getting back Jamaal Charles. He’s a special runner. His YPC average in his career is right up there with some of the greatest the game has ever known. More importantly, the running plays that he excels at fit perfectly into the type of offensive system you’re familiar with. He runs well out of the shotgun, and he runs well on off tackle stretch plays.
Blocking up front for him and you will be a young and talented offensive line, anchored by underrated LT Brandon Albert, and staffed by some young up and comers in John Asamoah and Rodney Hudson, and you’ll even find a familiar face in Ryan Lilja along there who can help add depth and transition the offensive line to adapt to your commanding presence at the line of scrimmage. We also intend on using this offseason to shore up some of the weaker spots along the line. Also, our new offensive line coach is the man who has been a part of keeping your brother Eli clean for the last few years.
You enjoyed the greatest success in your career under the leadership of a mild mannered and well liked defensive minded coach. I submit to you that Romeo Crennel is the closest person you will find to Tony Dungy among the head coaching ranks today. He is soft spoken, friendly, extremely smart, and has conducted some of the defenses that have give you the most struggles over the years. We all remember the Patriots vs. Colts duels of the past decade. The media always finds the celebrity angle and made it you vs. Tom Brady. But we intelligent sports fans know a bit better than that, the true battle was you vs. Romeo Crennel.
I have no doubt that you have the utmost respect for Romeo and his defensive aptitude. But I suspect you also have a mutual respect for that entire Patriots organization that gave you fits during those years. The good news is that our organization is led by the man that built those teams that you dueled with, Scott Pioli.
Now I’m going to give you the downside to this. Scott Pioli is in control. In the Colts organization, you may have had more input into the roster than you’ll be given here in KC. I don’t think your wishes will fall on deaf ears, but Scott may only listen to the personnel groups that you wish to see improvement in, instead of specific players. Having said that, I think you’ll find this liberating, especially given you’ll be arriving in a new destination and needing to focus on getting timing with your receivers down and learning your new teammates. In either event, you’ve seen the teams that Scott has assembled, and you’ve seen the successes they’ve had. It is no coincidence and we both know that.
The City: You have a home in Miami, so the media currently is obsessed with putting you in orange and teal. But do you want to be a celebrity in a city that has the TMZ-bug, the obsession with flash and sizzle over substance? Maybe. I’m not going to pretend to know what’s on your mind, you deserve better than that. But I want to make the case not about the culture of the city. Hell, I haven’t even lived in KC since I was a boy, and although I’ve visited, I’m not going to pretend to know how you’ll be treated if you go out to dinner or go shopping at the grocery store. What I do know is that KC seems a lot like Indy in terms of size, friendly Midwestern nature, and family orientation.
I want to make the case for the fans. We saw what you did for Colts fans. That was a franchise that, although it had its moments of success and a storied history dating back to its days in Baltimore, had never experienced the joy of winning a Super Bowl for Indianapolis. When you arrived in Indy, you made that team a contender every year, and won them a Super Bowl. They’ll forever be grateful to you. We have suffered a long drought in KC.
When the modern NFL was born in the late 60’s, the Kansas City Chiefs defined AFL football and consistently competed for Championships, winning our one and only Super Bowl in 1970. We went through a long period of obscurity thereafter, and re-emerged in the 1990’s under Marty Schottenheimer. Many of us fell for the Chiefs in the 90’s, but we’ve never experienced the feeling of winning it all. Many of us, yourself included, weren’t even born when the Chiefs last won it all.
And yet, you will find no group of fans more dedicated than us. We stretch across the nation and the world. I live in Los Angeles, but I’ve visited a Chiefs bar in Philadelphia. At our favorite website, ArrowheadPride.com, we speak with fellow Chiefs fans from Shanghai to England and everywhere in between. Just look at the traffic here at AP compared with any other fan blog you can find.
You’ve seen Arrowhead in January. It is a magical place.
But you’ve seen it, you’ve smelled the barbecue, you’ve heard the rabid fans chanting the tomahawk chop, singing the national anthem the way it will forever be in Arrowhead, and making more noise than nuclear detonation. Seeing it sometimes brings a tear to my eyes, but that tear is bittersweet and burning as it streams down my cheek. Because this devotion has been so far unrewarded, we feel a curse has gripped our beloved franchise. The most beautiful stadium in the NFL, laden with history and teeming with support and unrivaled noise, needs to host a champion. We need our demons exorcized.
And we know that adding you to our team- our FAMILY, because that’s what we are– will take us there.