The Magazine on Manning, not in control

Seth Wickersham does a great job in this piece looking at things Peyton Manning would prefer not be looked at: what it’s like for a control freak to surrender control, who he’s talked to as he’s recovered from neck surgery, how he’s dealing with it.

"The NFL's greatest control freak is learning the hard way that he doesn't control anything. On Sept. 8, when Manning would have typically been preparing for the Colts' season opener, he was under general anesthesia in Los Angeles, his neck sliced open, as Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. and his son, Dr. Robert Watkins Jr., placed a piece of bone from Manning's hip between two collapsed vertebrae. Recovery is estimated at three months, so there's a strong chance Manning won't play this season -- not unless the Colts are in playoff contention. Staring at his football mortality has rattled him. 'Football is his god,' says one of Manning's friends. 'When your god is lifted away from you, how you handle it might change your life.'

"Manning, meanwhile, isn't saying much. Which isn't new. He's closed himself off as he's aged..."

Manning’s shorter in texts with friends. He’s leaned some on a quarterbacking confidante David Cutcliffe.

Wickersham concludes that Manning’s ego is in his legacy, not his longevity and that in some ways he’s turned the ultimate team game into golf, competing against himself.

Manning’s not going to invite us in to see what's going on with him now. The next best thing is a good observer telling us what he sees and hears.

This is that.