MIAMI (CBS4) – Remember the excitement over LeBron, Dwayne and Chris, “The Dream Team?” Ho-hum.
The Miami Marlins in their fancy new uniforms and new stadium? Yawn.
The excitement – the obsession – now is with Peyton Manning.
We TV news people parked our helicopter over his airplane when he arrived in South Florida last week. We flew a surveillance mission as he drove to his condo on South Beach. If he hadn’t stopped to talk to pursuing news crews we probably would have run him off the road. So he stopped.
And he told us, straight up: He had nothing to tell us.
“I haven’t thought about teams,” he said. “I don’t even know who is interested.”
But we kept following Peyton. We staked out his condo, multiple airports, athletic fields, Dolphins headquarters and most sports bars on the off chance he might show up and – like Forrest Gump at the end of his long run – say something uplifting.
When he got off his jet in Colorado to talk to the Denver Broncos about replacing Tim Tebow our helicopter hovered overhead, as if there might be some body language that could be captured from a thousand feet up to give us some encouragement.
When we learned that Peyton was talking to the Broncos and the Cardinals and Lord only knows who else, Miami Dolphins executives kissed their wives goodbye, grabbed their overnight bags and flew out to Indiana, Peyton’s former fiefdom, to beg him to come play for us.
We need the good old days again.
You remember the good old days and names like Shula and Marino. Winners.
At the Doral Ale House Tuesday patrons struggled to even remember those who came after Marino. All eyes were glued to TVs filled with Peyton Manning, fans scanning the big screens with hope springing eternal. They were trying to forget the morass of mediocrity that the Dolphins have had at quarterback since the good old days: Huard, Feely, Rosenfeld, Lemon (yes, he lived up to his name), Harrington, Green and Beck – not the beer, but the quarterback. The beer was better.
The only recognizable name we’ve had under center was an injured, over the hill, has been. Sorry Dante.
The Dolphins sure haven’t known how to pick ’em.
Top talent has turned us down in droves. A prospective head coach named Harbaugh dissed us with a chuckle. Another fella named Fisher couldn’t get back on the helicopter he arrived on soon enough.
One guy who did take the job, jilted us. Can you say Satan?
So, we need Peyton, the Holy Grail of the gridiron to lead us back to the promised land, or at least to the end zone.
The Dolphins have a fight song with a verse that goes in part, “we’re always in control, and when you say Miami, you’re talking Super Bowl.”
And so the fans stay glued to ESPN, the TV helicopters scour the landscape, reporters are wear out their telephones, looking for a sign that the great Peyton will choose our team, our town, and bring life back to that song that ends with “Miami Dolphins, number one.”