If you have been living in a cave this week and haven’t heard the news, let me update you: Peyton Manning returns to the house he built, Lucas Oil Stadium, when his undefeated Denver Broncos (6-0) play the Indianapolis Colts (4-2) on Sunday Night Football. Also, Jay Cutler rekindles his "friendship" with cornerback DeAngelo Hall as the Bears (4-2) head to Washington to take on the struggling Redskins (1-4).
The fireworks leading up to the games have been fueled largely by everyone but the key participants, but I’m here to tell you that words matter and being disrespected matters. It matters to Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler and DeAngelo Hall. It matters to their teammates and coaches because they have their back. Disrespecting your teammate is one in the same as disrespecting you or your family member. Disrespect shown intentionally or not is still disrespect, and the disrespecting party should know better.
If they don’t, they are about to learn a humbling lesson about the Golden Rule: treat others with the same respect you would like to be treated. It is a simple rule the disrespecting party should have learned long ago. Not knowing the “Golden Rule" is just a reflection of someone’s family and how one was raised, but it’s never too late to learn even if it’s later in life, especially in a league like the NFL, where respect is earned through winning and toughness.
It all started innocently with Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was quoted in a USA Today article saying, “We've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these," referring to his Super Bowl XLI ring. “Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated. “You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin and Reggie. Mostly, you love championships.”
Broncos head coach John Fox joined Pat Kirwan and me on SirusXM NFL radio during his weekly spot and said, "I saw the comments, and to be honest with you I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot. To me, in my opinion, they were disappointing and inappropriate. I mean, Peyton would never say anything. He’s too classy to do that. But they sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me for a guy that has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won division titles, won four MVP awards. I’d be thankful with that one Super Bowl ring because there’s a lot of people that don’t have one."
Since the initial firestorm, everyone from former Colts head coach Tony Dungy to former Colts general manager Bill Polian has weighed in on the disrespect it showed Manning from a clueless owner not understanding how difficult the journey is to get to a Super Bowl. Polian went so far as to correct his former boss regarding Irsay’s inaccurate facts in Bell’s USA Today article. Facts such as Baltimore was under a different owner and coach in 2000 than the 2013 championship.
The Cutler vs. Hall rivalry has culminated since 2008, when Cutler was a Bronco and Hall an Oakland Raider -- not 2010 when Hall was a Redskin and intercepted Cutler, a Bear, four times. In 2010, Cutler got lambasted by the media and Hall after the game for saying, “If we had to play them tomorrow, I'd go at him every time, if we could."
Hall then responded on SportsCenter saying, "You know what, man? Jay's a little bit, he (doesn't) really understand, I guess, the game, of football, And in the game of football, you're gonna see guys several times in their career. You know, he completed four passes against me when I was out in Oakland and he was in Denver on a Monday Night Football game, and I knew leading up to the game he was still feeling good about that. He made some smart, snide comments about that after that game, so I knew definitely he was gonna try to come out there and try me, and it didn't work for him."
Hall went further when asked about the cast surrounding Cutler, saying, "They've got some great players, they've got some great players," he said. "They've definitely got some players out there, man....Jay's a good quarterback. He has that swagger and that confidence that you like out of your quarterback. If he's on your team, you love him to death, you'll ride or die with him. if he's not on your team, he's a guy that's gonna get into it with almost everybody on the field....They've got the weapons. They've got the weapons, man. But I guess our scheme and our guys just wanted it a little bit more that day."
Here’s what Hall was referring to concerning Cutler’s comments in the Denver Post when the Broncos faced the Raiders in 2008:
"With Broncos star receiver Brandon Marshall missing the opener to serve his one-game suspension, Mike Shanahan built his game plan around Royal beating Hall. Afterward, Hall said the Broncos out-schemed the Raiders - a term that points a finger at the coaching staff. Cutler scoffed at that notion. "We played one-on-one football with them; we didn't out-scheme them," Cutler said. "Eddie Royal beat DeAngelo Hall time after time after time. That's what happened."
Ouch, what a blow to Hall’s ego! The point of this article is ultra-competitors don’t like being disrespected and they don’t forget being disrespected intentionally or not. The competitors involved this time around have pretty much stayed quiet. They will do their talking on the field.
It matters! So NFL fans, get ready! It's going to be a tremendous week 7 in the NFL!