It's finally upon us. Wednesday is expected to be the day we've all been waiting for. Peyton Manning can be your quarterback IF ... the Price is Right! Forget about "The Decision II." Let's have Drew Carey guide every interested GM through guessing the cost of products, spinning the wheel, playing Plinko and watching the yodeler fall off the cliff. Whoever wins the Showcase Showdown gets the services of No. 18. Tell me that isn't going to make you switch over from The Voice.
So let's take a look at our most likely contestants, and their probability of landing The Man Jim Irsay Kicked To The Curb:
Why the Cardinals make sense: Teaming up with Larry Fitzgerald and possibly bringing Reggie Wayne with him? An offense-friendly coach with a Super Bowl pedigree, who also happened to get a lot out of another aging QB we thought was past his prime (Kurt Warner)? Very enticing. The NFC West is the weakest division in football and Alex Smith (if he re-signs) just isn't going to keep Manning home in January.
Why the Cardinals don't make sense: We just saw Warner become a cult hero in Arizona, so Manning would be stepping into some big shoes. He doesn't "follow" anyone. But everything else looks great.
Chance he lands in Arizona: 25 percent.
Why the Dolphins make sense: They have everything Manning wants: Nice weather, an up-and-coming roster with good offensive weapons, a pass-happy head coach and a chance to play Tom Brady twice a season.
Why the Dolphins don't make sense: Are you nuts? Go up against Brady twice a season? And play the Jets twice with their defense? And just who is Joe Philbin, anyway? Is this guy really ready to lead a team to a Super Bowl? (Sure, Peyton got to one with Jim Caldwell at the helm, but how often does lightning strike the same place twice?) Though the perk of closed-door meetings with J. Lo might be worth it. And did I say the weather?
Chance he lands in Miami: 25 percent.
Why the Chiefs make sense: They've already said they're interested, and they have some pretty dynamic weapons in Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles (depending on how he bounces back from injury). They're in America's heartland, and I'm sure K.C. will design some buildings to look like downtown Indianapolis for Peyton if he wants. The division is there for the taking, meaning playoffs are possible every season.
Why the Chiefs don't make sense: Man, it's cold there. But that's all I got. K.C. is more attractive by the day.
Chance he lands in Kansas City: 15 percent.
Why the 49ers make sense: They're the most Super Bowl-ready of any suitor. The game's best defense, a harsh running game, a great TE in Vernon Davis, and you know they'd get him some WR help. It's one of the most legendary franchises in the NFL. You can thank Alex Smith for his time and let him move on.
Why the 49ers don't make sense: Does Manning really want to turn on the radio to hear a daily "Montana, Young or Manning" debate amongst the good citizens of San Francisco? These would be Shaq-sized shoes to step into. But if he's OK with that? Look out, Rice-A-Roni lovers, there could be a new treat in town.
Chance he lands in San Francisco: 15 percent.
Why the Jets make sense: They're knocking on the door of the Super Bowl, and all of the team issues would become moot if Manning were to sign there. After a lifetime in Indianapolis, he'd be able to play in the No. 1 media market in the world and go to lunch with his brother every day.
Why the Jets don't make sense: Like he needs Rex Ryan putting more of a bullâs-eye on his neck ... sorry ... back, than he'll already have. He stayed in school so he wouldn't have to go to New York in 1997, and I don't think the city's made enough improvements for him to want to live there -- or in Jersey City. "Do I really want to hear how Eli's surpassed me all the time?" This is too much of a combustible mix and the lights might be too bright for this humble guy who likes to stay out of the spotlight -- EXCEPT when he's doing commercials. (But hey, don't they shoot a ton of commercials in New York?)
Chance he lands in New York: 15 percent.
Why the Seahawks make sense: Did you see Tarvaris Jackson play last season? They just re-signed Marshawn Lynch and will be very aggressive in free agency. Again, they play in the worst division in football. (Sensing a theme here?) They enjoy a home-field advantage unlike just about any other team in the league.
Why the Seahawks don't make sense: There are better teams poised to win in the NFC West than Seattle. How much do you think Manning likes throwing the football in the rain?
Chance he lands in Seattle: 5 percent.
Why the Redskins make sense: Um, they need a quarterback? That's really the only thing. It's like saying I have a chance to marry a woman because I'm a man.
Why the Redskins don't make sense: With Manning on board, they'd only be about 45 players short of the Super Bowl. This won't even get out of the gate.
Chance he lands in Washington: 0 percent. (But they're on the list just in case the rest of the teams all get abducted by alien spaceships.)
And to close, let me throw one team into the mix that doesn't appear to be a major player right now, but could wind up getting more attention as time goes on: The Tennessee Titans. This franchise can offer Manning the chance to play in the state in which he first became a legend, and also the opportunity to stick it to the Colts twice a season. (Remember, Peyton has a bit of that mean streak in him.) Handing off to a resurgent Chris Johnson is a nice option, and he can stay in a division he knows like the back of a Papa John's box. Obviously, Peyton's emotions are the X-factor when it comes to the Titans, but Tennessee has plenty to offer. And Peyton has plenty to offer in return: It addition to whatever Manning can give the Titans on the field, the franchise can allow raw QB Jake Locker to learn at Peyton's feet for two or three years.