I.P. Blog – Indianapolis Colts Release Famous QB, Risk Value

By Jill Starbuck, Pellegrino & Associates

Hearts are breaking all over Indianapolis as fans mourn the release of their most beloved football player, Peyton Manning. The Colts franchise recently announced the separation of its 14-year relationship with one of the most famous quarterbacks in the NFL. With Manning on the team, the Colts made it to the playoffs nine consecutive years, won AFC titles twice, and became Super Bowl champs. So, why would the Colts even consider letting go of such a valuable asset?

While many people believe that the Colts cannot function without Manning, the big picture now is that Manning poses a big risk for the Colts. It is true that the team experienced one of its worst seasons in 2011 with a record of 2-14 without Manning. However, even though Manning didn’t play for the team in the 2011 season, he was still a part of it. But as a popular quarterback, he is more valuable to his team when he performs the tasks that made him famous in the first place. Therefore, the Colts began to experience a drop in attendance, ticket prices, merchandise sales, etc. While a winning or losing season is really a team effort, many fans believe the Colts lost because of Manning’s absence. So now that Manning is free to play again, why are the Colts letting him go?

It is already apparent that when Manning isn’t playing, the Colts don’t benefit. And they would take a big chance on whether he can even play. With an entire year off and several neck surgeries, Manning may come back rusty. He may never play as well as he once did. His future capabilities are too hard to predict. Another factor is that he is already in his mid-30s, which is nearing retirement age for many NFL players.

Had the Colts signed him on for another year, the franchise would have had to pay a $28 million bonus to a player that didn’t add much value to the team for an entire year. That’s a lot of money to give to a player that didn’t increase value much for the team. Manning is still, and will always be for some, a fan favorite. While he still holds personal value, he holds more value for this team when he is healthy and winning games.

As the Colts reorganize its franchise, it may take some time to rebuild the value it once enjoyed with a winning season and a superstar quarterback. Even had Manning stayed on the team, he would’ve had to retire eventually. The Colts franchise simply can’t take the chance to lose more value after experiencing its worst season in two decades.  True Colts fans may love Manning and continue to follow him, but they will remain loyal to their team, regardless of who is playing.

As for Peyton Manning, whether he goes to another team or decides to pursue other opportunities, he will go down in history as one of the greats.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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