Being a fan of the New England Patriots is not as easy as it is played out to be. Sure, the constant domination is great, but there is much more to it.
When it seems that each of the other 31 teams in the league is out to get you, it isn’t the most pleasant feeling. I’ll be the first to say it: the Patriots can be a dirty team. The spygate scandal angered and irritated me greatly. But that does not detract from the fact that other teams have their flaws and downfalls as well.
As reports started to flow of the New England Patriots use of deflated footballs against the Indianapolis Colts in last year’s AFC championship game, I was in total shock and felt that it was spygate all over again. Though as new reports and information were released, I became more informed and came to realize that the whole deflategate debacle was blasphemy. Deflated footballs won’t dramatically enhance performance on the football field, especially considering the score of the game. Thus, I still cannot fathom why the NFL is out to get Tom Brady and the Patriots when there are clearly many more important cases to handle. (i.e. domestic violence.)
But enough about the Patriots.
Over the weekend, Al Jazeera, a publication company originated in Qatar, released a bombshell report accusing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and other high profile athletes of purchasing human growth hormone. The report states that Manning acquired HGH by purchasing it under his wife’s name from a clinic in Indianapolis known as The Guyer Institute in 2011. There are disputes about the report’s credibility, but nonetheless Manning is in the limelight in the eyes of some.
My first reaction to these allegations was of joy for a number of reasons. As a Patriots fan, it is a natural-born instinct to not be a fan of Peyton Manning. The intense Brady-Manning rivalry leads to this mentality. So seeing Manning under major scrutiny for the first time made me quite satisfied. These reports also gave me hope that it would deflect attention from the New England Patriots and the gray cloud that still hovers over them that is deflategate. I had the belief that those who put Peyton Manning on a pedestal would get a taste of the sort of backlash and disgust that Tom Brady and the Patriots have received over the past decade, whether or not the reports were valid.
After a bit of consideration, I realized that isn’t the appropriate mentality to have. After all, the apparent attempt at defamation of Tom Brady by the NFL had me frustrated. Brady himself has voiced his support for Manning. It is only fair I give Manning benefit of the doubt as well. In his interview with ESPN for Sunday NFL Countdown, Manning was adamant in his denial of using performance enhancing drugs, and convincing at that. It is evident that he was clearly appalled by the reports.
What if Peyton Manning did indeed take HGH?
It doesn’t mean anything. It does not ruin his reputation. It does not ruin his career. If anything, it would actually be understandable. Manning was suffering from career-threatening neck injuries at the time, so it would make sense that he would like to prolong his career by taking HGH. The major difference here is that in comparison to PED use in baseball where hitters take them in order to be stronger and hit farther, Manning’s case would be to recuperate from catastrophic injury. As we all know, football is a punishing sport. So it makes complete sense that some players may opt the route of HGH to stay healthy as opposed to painkillers. Who knows how long NFL players have been using HGH? It wasn’t until 2014 that the league started testing for it. Manning was obviously still a stellar quarterback before 2011, light years better than the years following as well. It would be foolish to think his career would take a hit because of this scandal.
The worst part of all is that Manning’s career is nearly over. It is an absolute shame that he has to deal with this annoyance when he is bound to end his storied career anytime now. He will fight like hell through it though, just as he has throughout his career. As a Patriots fan, I can tell you firsthand that I have no doubt in my mind.
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