Peyton Manning's super Super Bowl

So Peyton Manning (allegedly, sure) took HGH; we can all agree on that, yes? 

That's my conclusion from this latest Washington Post report that looks into Al Jazeera's documentary The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping. Ever since word leaked that Manning's name would be included in Al Jazeera's reporting, the quarterback has maintained his innocence and that he has nothing to hide--which, fine, that's to be expected. But you don't hire goons posing as private eye investigators to go intimidate a key witness if you have nothing to hide. (A note: shame on Al Jazeera for protecting the witness's innocence so well that Manning's lawyers could find out who he is.) Not only that, but now Manning's lawyers have said that yes, indeed, the Guyer Clinic had shipped drugs to Manning's house. (For his wife. Suuuuuuure.)

But that's not a story you'll hear about this Sunday when Manning's Denver Broncos battle the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Nope. CBS is on the call, with Phil Simms and Jim Nantz analyzing, commenting and doing their thing; that thing will not include Al Jazeera's reporting, because Nantz has a very good and personal reason to not discuss it. It's quite the departure from a year ago, when the NFL went out of its way to sabotage Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in their Super Bowl appearance with pseudo-science and (allegedly) deflated footballs. "Oh but Manning's perfect and not Brady." Right, except he's really not perfect.

In 2016, the NFL and Roger Goodell want their perfect storyline; they want their Disney-like perfect ending, the one where Manning, "who has allegedly probably used HGH but we won't mention it," rides off in the sunset after a (really, probably shitty) performance to "clinch" a Denver win that has more to do with the strength of the team's defense, about Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware and not Manning.

Essentially, that's my Super Bowl preview: Manning probably used HGH but we won't hear about it. I've watched one game all season, on Opening Night, and maybe three total hours since; I don't have an opinion on this game otherwise. Manning will probably win Super Bowl 50 because if the NFL can still influence concussion research in 2016, then it can make it so that it has its perfect ending.

Originally published in my newsletter.