Well done NBC, well done.

NBC’s useage of Diddy Dirty Money’s “Coming Home” as the promo for Sunday Night Football’s Broncos – Colts matchup was perfect. So perfect it gave me chills when I first viewed it … and a second time when I viewed this bootleg version of it.

If you’re not familiar with why it would be perfect then … well you’re probably not reading this, or you’re my wife or my mom. Hi Mom!

Super Bowl Champ at last!

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning returns to the “House that Peyton Built” (aka Lucas Oil Stadium) and more importantly the city that he once owned. A city that continues to embrace him – Indianapolis.

Why did he leave Indianapolis?

Indianapolis is home to the Colts, the team Manning spent his first 14 seasons setting records for, winning four Most Valuable Player honors (a league record), taking them to the playoffs in 11 seasons, nine consecutively, and to the Super Bowl twice, winning in 2006. As you can see, he’s kinda a big deal in Indianapolis.

A neck injury forced him to miss the entire 2011 season, allowing the Colts to finish a measly 2-14 and earn the right to the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

That put Colts management in a predicament.

Do they keep their star (yet, aging) quarterback, who is coming off four neck surgeries (in a league, and at a position, where injuries are continuously happening) and is due $28 million dollars in bonus money? Or do they cut ties gracefully with their star (yet, aging) quarterback and take what many were calling, even before the Colts lucked (pun intended) into the pick, the next Peyton Manning, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck?

Before I go on I’ll tell you that I’m a Peyton Manning fan. I have been since 2004 when he led my fantasy team to a 12-1 record, 14 straight victories (including the postseason) and my second title in four years. I have both a white and blue No. 18 Colts jersey. I attempted to name, first my daughter, and then my second son after him. I was denied twice. You can thank me your mom later Lia and Levi. He’s my answer to the “Who’s your Man Crush?” question. Wait, nobody asks you that? Anyway …

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Thanks to Manning, I’m now a Colts fan. I own a Colts hat. My brother made me a Colts helmet for my office (pictured right). I have the Colts horseshoe as my phone screen saver. They are the only sports team, since the late-’90s Phoenix Suns (my name, after all, is Kevin Johnson), that causes me to scream at the TV in excitement or punch myself in disgust. I’m kidding about the screaming.

I was a bit disappointed when I heard that the Colts were going to release Manning. Sure I cried a bit during the press conference. I wanted him to stay! But as a Colts fan I knew that with a can’t-miss kid like Luck (and the possibility of 15 years with another stud quarterback) they were making the right choice.

My friends would ask me, “Are you still a Colts fan, or are you going to follow Manning to Denver?”

I answered, “I’m still a Colts fan.” But I wasn’t sure, not until I freaked out during a Colts’ preseason game and realized, “Why by golly, I am a Colts fan.” I said it just like that, honestly.

But I also realized I’m still a Manning fan, and thus a Broncos fan. That loss to the Ravens in last year’s AFC Divisional Round caused me to scream at the TV and punch myself in disgust. It hurt (the loss, not the punching) and almost caused me to retire from sports. Days after the loss “I don’t follow sports” became my mantra to any sports-related discussion.

Needless to say, I still follow sports.

Which brings me back to Sunday and this year’s biggest game, at least based on all the storyline possibilities, and the chorus of “Coming Home”.

I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away
All the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming

OK, so the chorus may not be perfect. After all, there is no need for Manning to tell the world. We’re telling it for him  – over and over and over again. There really is no pain of yesterday to wash away. The kingdom awaits, but there were really no mistakes to be forgiven (unless you’re counting the pick 6 to Tracy Porter in the Super Bowl loss to New Orleans – JERK!).

Heck, even the Colts are telling the world he’s coming home. They plan on having a huge pregame ceremony to honor him. Part of me thinks this is great, both that they are going to celebrate what he’s meant to that franchise, but also you know the emotions got to get into his systematic head a little bit too.

Why not? Do you want your ex-quarterback tossing touchdowns in front of the fans you released him in front of, and in front of your new fancy quarterback? Would you want your ex-girlfriend showing up to your house looking like a super model in front of your friends, who understood why you dumped her, when your hot wife, who your friends adore and support 110-percent, is standing on the sidelines? The answer is OF COURSE NOT DUMMY!

Diddy’s first verse is more fitting:

I’m back where I belong, yeah I never felt so strong
I feeling like there’s nothing that I can’t try
And if you’re with me put your hands high
If you’ve ever lost a light before, this one’s for you
And you, the dreams are for you

Manning is back in the city where he belongs and, according to the stats that he’s putting up, he’s never felt so strong. At the ripe young age of 37, the dude and his Broncos are on record-shattering pace for numerous offensive records.

Colts fans will be putting their hands up high, or at least smacking them together as they honor their ex-hero. I’m sure there will be hundreds of No. 18 jerseys littered about the stands.

Put yourself in Manning’s cleats … you’re headed back to the place you grew up professionally. Even though it was somewhat mutual, they still released you. You haven’t skipped a beat. Your new team has gone 19-3 since you’ve been behind center, and you’re playing better than you played in their uniform. I don’t care who you are, there’s a little part of you that wants to show the ex-girlfriend that she shouldn’t have dumped you, and you’re better off without her! 

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Put yourself in Luck’s cleats … you’re the new quarterback, attempting to get out of the shadow of this imposing star. They’re going to celebrate him. The crowd is going to love him. You’ve done nothing short to make them not love you. In fact you’ve done things he couldn’t do, like turn around a 2-14 team to a playoff, and dare I say, Super Bowl contender in your second year. I don’t care who you are, there’s a little part of you that wants to prove to the ex-boyfriend that there’s a reason your girlfriend moved on.

Whatever happens it’s going to be a fun Sunday night in Indy.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, in a yellow rambler, in a small rural town in Washington state, a confused 36-year-old will sit cradling his worn out Wilson football, wearing a blue No. 18 Manning Colts jersey, his kids locked in their kennels, dried up tears on his cheeks, waiting for the answer to a question his friends, and even himself, have asked for over a year.

“So are you a Manning fan or are you a Colts fan?”

Whatever happens it’s going to be a fun Sunday night in rural Washington.

NOTE: No kids were put into kennels during the games. I don’t own any kennels. Though it’s an idea … please don’t call CPS on me.

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