Wait until after the Super Bowl.
That’s my message to the National Football League, following reports this week that it’s conducting a “comprehensive” investigation of Peyton Maning regarding an Al Jazeera report that linked the Denver Broncos’ quarterback to HGH in 2011, while he was recovering from neck surgery.
The Broncos defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship last weekend. They will play the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, one week from Sunday. Per usual, that leaves us with plenty of time to discuss things that don’t necessarily have to do with the actual game on Feb. 7. And regardless of how you feel about Manning, the Broncos, or HGH use in general, the accusations that may or may not have been made against him in that Al Jazeera report won’t have any effect on who will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
I know what you’re thinking: “But what if Manning used HGH this year to return from a late-season injury?” Well, first and foremost, the NFL now tests for HGH. They didn’t in 2011, when Manning is accused of having it sent to his home under his wife’s name. So it would be a pretty ballsy move to take a little HGH for the playoffs. Also, I’m no doctor, but I’m willing to bet an HGH regimen is more complicated than that.
Regardless, if the Broncos do somehow defeat the Panthers and win the Super Bowl, it will mainly be because their defense held Cam Newton in check. There are plenty of storylines to go around as we get ready for the last game of the year, on the grandest stage of them all. And the football fan in me would like the NFL to hold off on any such investigation until after the Super Bowl.
Right now, you’re probably also thinking, “Wait a minute. Who is writing this? Danny, is this you?”
Yes, it’s me. Listen, I still want the NFL to investigate Manning’s alleged ties to HGH. And I still want the national media to take this story seriously. I said just as much about a month ago when the Al Jazeera report first came out. But now that we’re a week away from the big game, I don’t want to have to deal with off-the-field quarterback “scandals” leading into the second straight Super Bowl.
We already had an NFL investigation steal the spotlight away from last year’s Super Bowl, as “Deflategate” took on a life of its own leading up to the game. I think I can speak for all of New England when I say I could have done without all of that nonsense.
Since the Al Jazeera report first broke, I’ve been adamant that this is a major story, and it shouldn’t be ignored. I’ve said this because of the precedent the national media set with its reaction to Deflategate. I’ve also said that if the NFL is ready to take this to the next level with an actual investigation, then by all means, have at it. It’s a precedent the league set, by comparing PSI to PED’s during Deflategate. But I don’t need it all right this moment.
The Patriots fan in me wants revenge. I want every star player to be treated the same way. I want an investigation and the media scrutiny that goes along with it, more than anyone else. The football fan in me wants the Manning investigation to be a top headline, but not something that steals the spotlight away from the game itself. I don’t want to go through that again, with any player.
Right now, this is the football fan speaking. And I want the NFL to wait until after the Super Bowl.