Oh DeAngelo... you had to pick the day Peyton Manning was announcing his retirement to make choice comments about a future first ballout Hall of Famer.
Some people are so shortsighted to realize what DeAngelo's saying has a lot of merit: Peyton Manning wasn't very good last year. Sure he went out on top, winning a Super Bowl, in what was a storybook ending to a fairy tale career, but a lot of the credit is being given to Manning over the contributions of his teammates.
Now, let's be fair: Peyton Manning is the type of professional that would not, and did not, take the credit as his own. He's a player who would thank everyone from his teammates, and coaches, down to the equipment manager, for his team's success.
DeAngelo Williams wasn't necessarily criticizing Peyton Manning the player, as much as he was criticizing the media circus surrounding how "great" Manning was, when earlier in the same season, the same media heavily criticized Peyton as being a shell of his former self.
Williams went on ESPN Radio this morning to clarify his position on his controversial comments. He clarified that he thinks Manning had a Hall of Fame career, and is one of the greatest players ever. He also concedes that with an asterisks: Williams says Peyton Manning was "garbage" last season.
He's not wrong. and he's not saying anything that someone else hasn't said about Peyton this season: it's that he's saying it at the worst time possible, when a player with a storied career gets his 15 minutes in the spotlight.
This is where fans are getting emotional and going after Williams on Twitter. That's where I'd like to defend DW from those emotional fans who might not agree with his opinion.
Manning's numbers last year were not good. Fact.
They were not up to the standard we were used to seeing from him. Fact.
Then, when you compare Manning's 2015 season with Williams' teammate, Ben Roethlisberger, you get a larger picture of DeAngelo's frustration. Steeler Nation knows that Big Ben is relatively ignored in conversations about the NFL's elite quarterbacks. Combined with how the media was treating Manning before January, how would you reply to Pete Prisco's tweet earlier that day?
Was watching Manning’s 340-yard game vs. Packers this morning from November. Still could play.
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 7, 2016
When taken in context, I think most of Pittsburgh is frustrated, because they know Ben Roethlisberger was the only quarterback to dissect the Denver Broncos top defense last season.
And he did it twice.
There's a sentiment that the Steelers were a fumble away from beating the Broncos. A fumble that may not have happened if Williams was healthy enough to play in that game. Put yourself in DeAngelo's shoes, read this tweet, and... you may have rolled your eyes.
Everyone was saying Manning was washed up, but now that he's hanging up his cleats, he can "still play?" That doesn't make sense when the same people were saying he couldn't play months earlier.
Now take DeAngelo's tweet out of context, floating on it's own without seeing Pete Prisco's statement: DW looks like a complete jerk.
That was not his intention, but no matter your opinion on DeAngelo's comments, he isn't blowing hot air. He isn't saying things that others haven't. It's just that his timing was absolutely terrible. Manning may have had the worst year of any quarterback who won a Super Bowl. He was not a top 10 quarterback and he was barely a top 20 quarterback, depending on the statistical categories you want to compare him with his peers.
As the cliche goes: don't shoot the messenger: shoot his poor timing when everyone is celebrating one heck of a career.