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March 20th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Letters to the President #1156: 'Manning the barricades!'

Reporter's Note: After careful consideration, I have decided to end my career in professional football, which really wasn’t that hard, considering that it never really started. That said, I am continuing with my quest to write a letter each day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

For my money, I think the Peyton Manning/Denver Broncos pairing is an excellent match. Not that my money is actually involved, nor could I afford Peyton Manning even if he had two broken arms and his foot in a cast, but you get the point.

I’m sure the Colts' faithful are viewing it with mixed emotions, but having lived in Denver for ten years I’m equally sure that the wonderful fans there will welcome him with open arms and Rocky Mountain hospitality. As they should.

Sometimes I think that we, as a culture, have developed such a fascination with people who are young and things that are new and shiny, that we dismiss too early those with a few more seasons and dents on them. Maybe this is merely a measure of my own accumulating years, but I like to think not. In any event, I fully realize that many people may look at Manning…or any person in any field who has been around a while…and say, “Where is the future in this person? Why he (or she) may be good for only a few more seasons at best, and clearly his (or her) best days are in the past!”

But what will they say if Manning leads the Broncos into playoff contention this fall, or the next? Many teams with young, superstar quarterbacks never make it to the Super Bowl even once, let alone for a return trip; indeed, most don’t. So if a team can squeeze an extra season or so from a proven champion and make it to the top in the process, why is that a bad decision? To the contrary, I think it may represent a much more sober, studied way of going about business.

To put it simply, I’ve often told my children, we must never confuse our immediate wants with our goals. A person running a great distant wants to stop at every step, but if he does so his goal is lost. People involved in arguments often become so embroiled in the fight to win, they forget what the purpose of the conversation was in the first place.

So let’s see how Mile High Manning does. Remember, the goal is not impressing critics, but winning…it’s true in sports, politics, and a great many other endeavors too.

Regards,
Tom

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