Now that Tebowmania and Linsanity are officially and mercifully dead, ESPN has focused its particular brand of around-the-clock, in-your-face, annoyingly excessive coverage on the future destination of one Peyton Manning.
Manning — the former Colts’ QB with four MVP awards and a Super Bowl trophy to his credit — is free to sign with any team on the planet, kicking off a rush of unfounded speculation not seen since the OJ trial. [Ed note: the Manning saga has affected the life of WS+B partner Steve Talkowsky -- a devout fan of the Miami Dolphins, one of the favorites to sign the QB -- so profoundly, he refuses to discuss anything other than Manning's potential destination.]
So where will Manning end up? If you believe Kelly Erb over at Forbes — and I tend to, since she’s great at what she does — the income tax implications of any potential destination may well become a deciding factor.
When it comes to money, while Miami has some wiggle room on the cap, what they don’t have is tons of money. Peyton’s not a poor guy by any means. But that still doesn’t mean he’ll play for peanuts. But a deal with Miami would offer him something that a deal in Tennessee, for example, couldn’t: a tax break.
It’s not just the sun and surf: income tax free Florida has lured a number of professional sports figures and celebrities. Tax motives were one of the reasons why it was widely speculated that LeBron James would make the move to Florida rather than New York and supposedly the lure for Tiger Woods to leave California for Florida.
We floated a similar hypothesis a few months ago when Rutgers’ coach Greg Schiano fled the high tax rates of the Garden State for the greener — and cheaper — pastures of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Personally, I’d like to see Manning sign with the rumored favorite, the Denver Broncos, if for no other reason than the convergence of Manning and Tebow may well force ESPN to collapse on itself like a dying star.