Denver's $96 million test on Peyton Manning
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Denver's $96 million test on Peyton Manning

Kansas City : MO : USA | Nov 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM PST
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Cutler concussion provokes questions

Even with a series of recent concussions sending some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks to the sidelines for a week or longer, little attention was paid to Denver's Peyton Manning as he threw a seven-yard pass for a touchdown with a few seconds left in the first half.

Kansas City lineman Tyson Jackson hit Manning as the ball was delivered to Jacob Tamme. Manning went down and banged his head on the turf. But the teams went to the locker rooms, and little was made of the tackle in the second half. Manning threw several errant passes, including one several yards short of his receiver.

Later, in the locker room, it was learned Manning had been tested for a concussion during halftime and was cleared.

The Denver Post quoted Manning, leaving Arrowhead Stadium, saying, "I'm fine. Everything checked out OK. I took a hit there, but I was cleared."

Three NFL quarterbacks suffered concussions on one day two weekends ago. They included the Chicago Bears, who lost Jay Cutler for the second half and a tough game in San Francisco this past weekend. The Bear lost both games.

Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins was fined $30,000 for the head-to-head blow on Cutler, levied after the quarterback had stopped moving forward and released the ball as he approached the line of scrimmage.

Michael Vick went down, and remains out, for the Philadelphia Eagles. And San Francisco's Alex Smith missed the game against the Bears.

Pressure was increased to lessen the concussion-causing helmet tackles.

The Onion put it all in perspective when it said Vick clearly was delusional because he thought the Eagles could still make the playoffs.

Manning was the test case because he had missed a season with a neck injury and his former team, Indianapolis, preferred to let him leave rather than pay his big salary. Denver paid $96 million for him, not knowing if he would shake the injury.

With the focus on quarterback hits (and on the sprinkler system coming on during the game), referees may have called an unjustified roughing-the-passer penalty on Seattle that cost them the game against Miami. Film showed quarterback Ryan Tannehill was hit by lineman Earl Thomas with his hand as he flew past. The penalty negated an interception in the end zone, and the Dolphins scored on the next play.

Thomas told NBC Sports: “I definitely felt the ball was still in his hand. And I even tried to turn my body kind of over not to even land on him. But when I’m going at my speed, I can’t just stop in mid-air, just magic. It’s just very frustrating, and that definitely changed the game.”

Opinion:

With so much pressure on players to knock out top performers like Manning—even bounties being paid—there may be no choice but to expect “magic” from the highly paid NFL defensive stars.

With the bottom line always the decider, the NFL needs to consider whether it wants to ask people to watch guys like Brady Quinn. It was fun to watch him toss the ball to the ground when his offensive line let Bronco Elvis Dumervil pass through like feces through the legendary goose.

And becoming a quarterback requires a broader skill set. They have better communications tools, so they have to communicate to their players what is going on. Manning seems more like a Gen. George S. Patton than a mere quarterback. Love hearing him yell "Omaha," though he is clearly not referring to the beach.

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The NFL has talked a lot about concussions, but the kinds of helmet-to-helmet hits that cause them continue even in high profile games.
Robert Weller is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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