Sportsmanship is one of the most important qualities in an athlete. On Feb. 8, 2010 the Colts played the Saints in the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning threw his last pass of the game and left the field with his helmet on and time still running on the clock. He did not shake hands with the quarterback who just won the Super Bowl or any other team member for that matter.
Some critics are saying that Manning was just “upset with his performance” or another cop-out was “he wanted the Saints to enjoy their time, because it was their moment to take over the field.” By leaving early Peyton just called more attention to himself. He tainted the win, by making it more about his loss. I personally think the reason was because Peyton Manning couldn’t believe the fact that the underdogs had just beat him in the biggest game of the year.
In my eyes this is unbecoming of a professional athlete. How many times have the Colts crushed an opponent and the loser still had the courtesy to shake Manning’s hand? Would Manning have had such an issue shaking hands if they had won the game? It is insulting to the Saints team to make such an accomplishment and their opponents’ leader couldn’t swallow his pride enough to give a congratulations.
Not only that but afterwards Manning kept referring to the game as disappointing. In an 11-minute interview it was tallied he used the word 18 times. Yes, Peyton, your performance may have been disappointing, but that is a fact you need to get over and move on to acknowledge the other team and their accomplishments. Give the Saints their due. Their team was on fire in a way the Colts weren’t and Manning had a rough time admitting that.
Later Manning also said he would call the quarterback and the coach and congratulate them. Well of course you can congratulate them after you have gotten over your loss. The true athlete would have sucked up their pride for 10 minutes to shake hands and admit the loss right away. In this circumstance Manning put himself before everyone else, including his team.
Which brings me to another point, Manning is the Colts leader. It speaks volumes about the team itself when its leader cannot muster up a heartfelt congratulation. Manning was quoted saying that there isn’t much consolation for the losers. Obviously there isn’t a consolation for the losers. There shouldn’t be because it wasn’t your moment so don’t mull over it.
In my eyes to be an athlete you need to accept the losses better than the wins. It stings the moments that it happens, and yes you loathe the team that put a black mark on your record. However that does not mean it is socially acceptable to blow off a congratulation that is due for the other team. Shaking hands after a game is a rite of passage. It is expected especially from professionals it comes with the territory after every loss or win, no matter the circumstance.
Let’s be serious right now, Peyton. Along with that lovely $14 million salary there will be losses and wins. All of which you are expected to carry yourself as a professional and either lose graciously or win graciously. Peyton is usually a class act and the only thing that I found truly disappointing about his performance in the game was the fact that he couldn’t manage to be a gracious loser.