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Eric Walden: Peyton Manning needs to channel his inner Richard Sherman

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Quarterback Peyton Manning, who will be released by the Indianapolis Colts, speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Manning, 35, who missed all of last season after a series of operations on his neck, has been the Colts' staring quarterback for 13 seasons, won a record four MVP awards and the 2006 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

By Eric Walden

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jan 25 2014 05:11PM
Updated Jan 25, 2014 07:50PM

My initial reaction to the forthcoming Seahoncos Super Bowl matchup was one of bland passivity, something along the epically boring and unoriginal lines of, "Hmmm … most prolific offense of all time vs. one of the stingiest defenses in a long time? Should be a good game."

I know, I know … about as exciting as spending Spring Break in Delaware.

Mere seconds after Seattle had vanquished Jim Harbaugh and the Sisterhood of the $8 Walmart Pants, though, the vitriol Richard Sherman directed at Michael Crabtree made me realize this was no time to be blasé. He woke me from my somnambulant stupor. Made me renounce my Swiss-like neutrality. Made me lean, by a margin not even as wide as Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables," to the Broncos.

Not because I found his comments disgraceful or distasteful or uncouth or unsportsmanlike, as so many hand-wringing biddies have. Actually, quite the opposite. I apparently was one of the few not aghast that a professional athlete driven by adrenaline and personal slights who’d just won the biggest win of his career, over a hated rival, would be a bit … animated and vociferous. HE SAID WHAT?!?! Big whoop. His candor was far better than the standard "we just wanted it more than they did" junk.

So why not root for Sherman and his Seadderall cohorts, then?

Picture Erin Andrews, fresh off a few therapy sessions after her shock-and-awe interview with Sherman, accosting the just-victorious Peyton Manning, asking him how it feels to be a Super Bowl champ again, expecting a response involving some Disney theme park, and instead being treated to a drawling delivery of:

"I’m the best QB in the game. When you try me with a sorry corner like Sherman, that’s the result you’re gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me. Sherman, don’t you open your mouth about the best. I’ma shut it for you real quick."

Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Peyton Manning channel his inner Richard Sherman.

Tell me you wouldn’t rather have FOX’s microphones feeding us a steady stream of trash talk from The Foreheaded One instead of informing us he just said "Omaha!" three more times.

I’m not even asking for Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis-quality stuff, though I would get a kick out of Manning telling Bobby Wagner, "I want your heart! I want to eat your children! Praise be to Allah."

Just imagine the entertainment value of hearing all the awkward, cornball insults he’d come up with …

• "Richard, know what the difference is between you and a baby? Even babies stop crying once in a while."

• "I’m sure you’ll win a Super Bowl one day. Just remember to turn off your PlayStation afterward."

• "Hey, Russell Wilson, I heard President Obama’s gonna send you to North Korea. He’s seen you overthrow so many guys, he figured you could do the same with Kim Jong Un."

• "Coach Carroll, I tell you what, you guys have got a heck of a punter."

Prolific offense vs. stingy defense? Who cares? All I want now is to hear Manning run his mouth. THAT would be a heck of a game.

ewalden@sltrib.com

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