For the first time since Jim Harbaugh was the starter at the end of the 1997 season, the Indianapolis Colts will have a quarterback other than Peyton Manning at the helm when they open the season against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Manning has been ruled out for Week 1, Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian said on ESPN Radio 1050 in New York today.
Sunday will mark the end of Manning’s streak of 208 consecutive starts, the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Peyton’s brother Eli Manning now has the longest active streak, with 103 consecutive starts, and Brett Favre’s all-time record of 297 is safe for many years to come.
The Colts will be a completely different team without Manning, and after nine straight years in the playoffs with Manning at the helm, it’s hard to see them even being competitive without him. Kerry Collins was signed in August when the Colts realized how serious Manning’s condition was, but Collins can’t have the whole offense down pat yet, and even if he did, Collins is no Manning.
There’s no word yet on when Manning might be ready to return, but it’s clear that it’s taking him a lot longer than expected to recover from offseason neck surgery.