January 10, 2011
"It's bull. It's bull, man. [...] I give everything I've got no matter what. Every day, I give it everything. And ... one ball, that's all."
"I shouldn't have even suited up. [...] I should have watched the game like everybody else. I was irrelevant."
Wayne didn't get specific on exactly who was responsible for all the "bull," but with the Colts, there's just one guy who decides where the football goes. His name is Peyton Manning(notes). Here's how he explained throwing Wayne's way just once (via AP):
“Reggie Wayne has had an unbelievable year,” Manning said. “There’s no question he was a big focus of their defense. It was just a matter of throwing to the guy that was open on each progression, depending on what the coverage was.”
So, is Reggie Wayne's complaint valid? Should he have seen more footballs on Saturday night?
I'll say this: When it comes to deciding if a man is open or not, and if he is indeed the best possible target on a pass play, I'll take Peyton Manning's word for it. If he decided it was best to only go to Reggie Wayne one time, I don't think anyone's in a position to tell him he's wrong. He's pretty good at making those decisions.
Not that I blame Wayne for being frustrated, either. A narrow playoff loss is hard to swallow for anyone. He's a fierce competitor and a superstar in the league. He's not without an ego. Everyone wants the football. Everyone wants to feel like they're being useful, and they want to do everything humanly possible to help the team win. Frustration is natural.
He's overstating when he's saying he was irrelevant, too. Occupying Darrelle Revis for the entire game isn't nothing. If Wayne's not doing that, there's no way Pierre Garcon(notes) is lighting up Antonio Cromartie(notes) for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Wayne will get past this. He and Manning have been making touchdowns for a long time now, and they'll go right back to doing the same thing next season.
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