When the going gets tough…

By Chelsea Franklin

The tough get going.

It’s a lesson learned, a proverb, and a piece of advice to live by. It’s a way to inspire and motivate. And it’s a group of words the top three quarterbacks in the NFL have never had to heed to… Until now.

Entering the fourth week of the regular season, the all-stars of the past are falling incredibly short. Rough schedule starts, recovering injuries, and off-season drama have plagued the performances fans were so accustomed to. Dropped passes and a lack of running game add to the pain. Coaches are frustrated, players left baffled, and fans visibly upset. And for the first time since 2001, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have more losses than wins in three games.

Living in someone else’s shadow is a common exchange in a family involved in sports. With the Mannings, however, the saying reaches a new level. With three players, equally famous for their achievements on and off the field, the blood rivalry and competition is apparent. Coming off a Superbowl season, younger brother Eli is beaming and has taken the Giants to a solid 2-1 start after three tough games. Big brother Peyton is not even close.

Just a few short years ago, Peyton was the golden boy in Indianapolis. A string of dependable receivers, an arm that seemed to be a blessing from above, and a group of coaches that admired him for the leader he was. But that’s all changed in Denver. And with six dropped passes in last Sunday’s game, we’re not sure when he’s going to be back in the high-powered offense he’s used to. With age and physical strength an issue as well, it appears to be shaping into a long year for the middle Manning.

The trend of quarterback-gone-wrong doesn’t end with Peyton. Instead, it begins. Tom Brady, the poster child of the NFL season after season, is struggling to bring the glory back to the Northeast. He is also 1-2, and no matter the reason, the record won’t be changing any time soon. Talks of poor officiating are circulating Boston, but that does not excuse their former MVP quarterback. Woes of last season are arising quickly.

Finally, we turn our attention the South. After a dramatic off-season, filled with penalties and fines, the New Orleans Saints seemed ready to silence the critics. Three losses in three games is not the way to do that. Drew Brees, the so-called Mayor of the city, has been consistent, but major turnovers and bad timing have hurt much of the chances the Saints have of reaching the postseason.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how human these superstars are. Contracts, sponsorships, Superbowl rings and all of the glitz involved can become blinding. It’s easy to think that the reign of success has no end. But introduce a little competition in rookies like RGIII and Andrew Luck and things can get a little shaken up. Watch Peyton Manning try to struggle through a third press conference of defeat and his human qualities are obvious. As the season progresses, keep an eye out for former glory…. and the newcomers.

 

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