"It wasn't us, it was him", we calmly reassured ourselves. He didn't want to play in his brother's conference. He didn't want to be the one who knocked his own brother out of the playoffs, or worse, tarnish his own reputation as the one who was knocked out by his younger sibling.
Apparently, we were wrong, and it was us after all.
In his first interview since signing with the Bronco's, Peyton Manning spoke to KKFN in Denver (via SportsRadioInterviews.com) about the situation.
"Obviously I know that San Francisco is in the NFC." Manning told the radio station "When I was talking to San Francisco, they asked me that. And I wouldn’t have told them that I could possibly be interested if that were the case."
It stands to reason, of course. Manning visited with multiple NFC teams, including the Cardinals. Since he doesn't seem like the time to string anyone along unnecessarily, the fact that he chose to visit Arizona and San Francisco at all indicates that the issue couldn't have been as big as some have made it out to be.
It seems that the Cardinals therefore, backed out because they had a timeframe to work to, and Manning did not.
But that begs the question, had the Cardinals cut Kolb and remained in the running, could we now be preparing for a season with Manning at the reigns?
When the decision was due, the consensus amongst analysts was that the Cardinals were in a distant third place, and that he simply used the Kolb situation to let down Ken Whisenhunt—his friend and golfing buddy—gently. However, though he didn't mention the Cardinals by name, Manning seemed to indicate that he never ruled them out.
"I really felt like I had some good options." Manning told the station. Clearly in reference to the Dolphins and Cardinals, he added "...certain teams were kind of on the clock and kind of had to have an answer right away due to personnel on their respective teams, and I just couldn’t rush a decision if I just didn’t feel right about it."
Something about Arizona made Manning hesitate. Immediately following his visit, the team were tipped as favorites to land the future Hall of Famer, but that clearly changed. Manning was clear to point out that he never ruled out those teams who were "on the clock" the clock, it would seem, simply expired.
We will never know what Manning told the Cardinals when he finally gave them the news that he wasn't ready to make the decision. Maybe he told them to keep Kolb, that they were out of the running, and stood no chance. Maybe he encouraged them to drop Kolb and remain in the hunt, he wanted to be with the Cardinals but couldn't guarantee he'd choose in their favour yet, likely, he just told them that he wasn't ready to make the decision yet, and let them do what they had to do.
However, it does make you wonder.