Forget the Galapagos Islands or the plains of the Serengeti, the best place to witness Darwin's pinciple of Natural Selection now is by observing the NFL off-season. The latest example of that will come today, as the Indianapolis Colts part ways with their future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
Manning is like the bull elephant that has led his herd for years, but has become severely injured and lame--perhaps from bravely fighting off predators or protecting his harem from another interloping male. As much as the rest of the herd loves that bull elephant and relies upon him for guidance and protection, they innately know that to remain with him in his current condition will jeopardize all of them. And so they leave their intrepid leader behind--thereby guaranteeing the continued success of the herd.
And that is exactly what the Colts are doing today. How could they justify a $28-million dollar contract to a quarterback with a degenerative nerve injury in his neck that no one knows is healing properly--and could be reaggravated by another hit or possibly by just another throw? The beauty of the NFL salary cap and contract structure is that it gives the Colts this freedom to avoid the big risk and to clear cap space to bring in a new--and fully healthy--quarterback through the draft or free agency. You look at Major League Baseball and the NBA and you see teams starting guys their coaches don't even want on the roster any more because they have to justify big money, guaranteed contracts that can sink an entire franchise for years.
Now you would thinks that fans would revolt against this cold and callous way of doing business--who doesn't love the aging veteran gamely taking to the field for one more shot at glory--but they apparently do not. Consider that NFL TV ratings set yet another record last season. And several cable channels and internet sites flourish by providing nothing but NFL coverage. Even when the Packers dumped Brett Favre you heard how some fans were "never going to games again"--but did you see any empty seats at Lambeau? And did those fans honestly sit in the corner and pout as Aaron Rodgers--the new leader of the herd--led the Packers to a Super Bowl title just a couple of season later?
So let those Colts fans burn their jerseys in protest and fill owner Jim Irsay's twitter timeline with hatred and threats. They will be back in the fold after that first perfect pass for a touchdown by Andrew Luck.
It's part of our nature.