all VOL, y'all.

For the love of Peyton: the Knoxville edition


“This is unbelievable, honey.”

She was right. I was practically hyperventilating during pre-game, alternating between yearning for and dreading the opening kickoff of the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

“It gets worse the older he gets because I know his window is shrinking.”

“Wrong,” she said. “It gets worse the older you get because I know your neurosis is growing.”


Only not really. Because while my wife is usually right when it comes to assessing any one of my peculiar proclivities, she was dead wrong in assessing this one. My neurosis isn’t growing. At least not as it pertains to sporting events.

Because I don’t attach anywhere near the significance to wins and losses as I once did. Forty-plus years and the ever-growing list of responsibilities that come with them will do that to a man.

That said, if you look closely enough, you just might notice the Peyton Manning Exemption stamped neatly upon my sports-tortured psyche in the very finest of font.

Because, as my wife observed during the AFC Championship Game, I still lose my marbles whenever Manning takes the field. The bigger the game, the further they roll. And my Vol-dominated Twitter feed suggests I’m not alone.

Which begs the question, why do I — why do we — care so very much about Peyton Manning’s football career?

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