Why Peyton Manning Is the Steve Jobs of the NFL
The Indianapolis Colts have just opened the 2012 season with a new starting quarterback, Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, Apple has just shown the iPhone 5 off to the world. Both represent a new beginning in the midst of the loss of two men whose names were synonymous with their respective franchises, Peyton Manning and Steve Jobs.
Now, while the differences between the two men are glaring (namely that God himself could not fit Peyton's Easter Island-esque head through one of Jobs' signature black turtlenecks), their career paths have taken some surprisingly similar turns. For example ...
After an abysmal season, the Colts drafted Peyton Manning with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL draft. Their faith in his abilities was rewarded when he obliterated several rookie records during his inaugural season, laying the groundwork for the years of success that would lie ahead for the Indianapolis Colts.
He still holds the record for most pretentious-looking rookie cards.
In 1998, Steve Jobs introduced the first major product following his return to Apple, the iMac. The innovative but easy-to-use technology laid the groundwork for the years of success that would lie ahead for Apple.
Thanks to Peyton Manning's mastery of the no-huddle offense and uncanny ability to read a defense and change plays accordingly on the fly, the Colts changed the way an NFL offense was run. They were a dominant force in the NFL during the 2000s, winning seven AFC South titles in eight years and appearing in the playoffs nine years in a row. Manning finally achieved the greatest accomplishment in the game by winning the Super Bowl in 2007.
Thanks to Steve Jobs' mastery of ushering revolutionary products onto the market at a rate that competitors have simply failed to keep up with, Apple has changed the way we live our lives. We saw everything from iTunes to the iPod to the iToilet (verification needed) during his time in charge, but in 2007, Jobs unleashed the company's biggest game changer, the iPhone. And with that, dominance was achieved.
Early in the 2011 off-season, Manning underwent surgery after doctors determined that repeatedly getting tackled by 200- to 300-pound players, while possessing a 200- to 300-pound head, can seriously damage your neck. Any hopes of Manning returning for the season opener were dashed after he suffered a setback in the late summer. Although he remained on the active roster, by the fall it was obvious that Manning wouldn't return and that the Colts' season was dead.
Early in 2011, Jobs took a leave of absence because cancer is a dick. All hope of Jobs resuming his day-to-day duties as Apple's CEO was lost when his condition forced him to resign later that summer. Jobs remained an Apple employee as his health continued to falter. He passed away that fall.
Without Peyton Manning at the helm, instead of competitive outings, Indy fans were given a shit sandwich of a 2-14 season. Last weekend, they debuted their new team, led by top pick Andrew Luck. Although Luck is a sign of a hopeful future, the magic of the Manning-style offense is gone. The Indianapolis Colts now seem like just a regular NFL team.
Without Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple immediately disappointed the world by launching the iPhone 4S, which is basically an iPhone 4 with "S" added to the name, when everyone was expecting the iPhone 5. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak would go on to describe the product as "poo-poo." The next disappointment came in the form of the "new iPad," which, as far as anyone could tell, was a bulkier version of the iPad 2, except with a slightly prettier version of the already jaw-droppingly beautiful iPad display.
And now, this week, new Apple CEO Tim Cook (finally) revealed the iPhone 5, which is pretty much an iPhone 4S with a taller screen. Gone are the days when Steve Jobs would march his immeasurable charisma out onto the stage with him to introduce the next technology that would make fanboys salivate. Instead, we get some guy pointing out minor tweaks that no one really cares about.
Apple now seems like just a regular tech company.