I have a message to all the Peyton Manning and Nick Saban “haters” on social websites the past few days. Are you kidding me? Are some of you such negative people that no matter what great things these two legends of football do you still have to point out some of their faults? Enough…..please.
Following the Denver Broncos upset loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday of last week, facebook was ablaze with posts like, “King Peyton chokes again….” Or “At least Tim Tebow got a playoff win last year for Denver. Peyton can’t win the big one.” Or this one…..”Peyton’s legacy is still lacking that big signature win. He may go down as one of the big chokers of all time.” Unbelievable.
Here is one simple major fact; Peyton Manning’s legacy in intact. He has won more MVP awards (4) than anyone else in NFL history, and is the odds on favorite to win a fifth this season. He has guided two teams to Super Bowls, winning one (2007). His career stats are among the top three or four in every category, and he is still near the top of his game. That also includes missing the entire 2011 season with serious neck problems and four major surgeries. What I just mentioned also has nothing to do with the other basic fact that he is also one of the truly great gentlemen in sports today.
Did Peyton or “perfect Peyton” as he has been called in the media have a lot to do with the Broncos’ loss to the Ravens? Perhaps, but Denver still had thirty-five points on the board in the fourth quarter. His fourth quarter interception was a real killer, because of when and where it happened. But teams win and lose as a team not individuals. Terrible pass coverage by the Broncos’ secondary had more to do with the loss than anything Peyton Manning did or didn’t do. Understandably though, quarterbacks still get more praise and criticism than players at other positions. The only thing I ask is, no matter how you feel about Peyton, consider the big picture.
I also ask the Nick Saban “haters’ out there to do the same thing; consider the big picture. Last week, also on facebook, there were discussions about the unusually high divorce rate among Sabans’ assistant coaches. Why is that even being discussed? It has nothing at all to do with his coaching ability. Sure, he is a strict hard line disciplinarian. He demands a lot from his players and his staff, but I still can’t really see the relevance here. If there is too much heat in the kitchen, get out. I haven’t done any research on that particular topic, because I choose to look at the big picture. Again I can’t see the relevance.
Everything I have ever read or seen about Coach Saban has been pretty much on the money. He is not perfect. He is tough, tougher than most of his coaching counterparts. But he is also a winner, and to rebuild the Alabama program the way he has in such a short period of time, has forced him to do things his way. As tough as he has a reputation for being, I can’t believe he is any tougher or even as tough as Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
I do know one other thing; Coach Bryant would have loved Coach Saban and Peyton Manning. He would have loved them because he always looked at the big picture.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).