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Would Peyton Manning Signing With The Arizona Cardinals Be Bad For ASU?

It's one of the oldest cliches in the Western genre.

Two gruff men with conflicting agendas stare each other down, be it in a dirty saloon or on opposite ends of a dusty street. One of them breaks the silence with the familiar phrase "This town ain't big enough for the two of us".

As any Arizona resident with their sight and/or hearing senses intact knows, Peyton Manning visited the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, and reports have indicated that the chances of him donning the red and white are pretty good.

This news has touched off a debate among local fans as to the effects of such a major signing would have on the Arizona State Sun Devil football program.

On one hand, some members of the ASU community feel Manning's arrival would have a harmful effect on the Sun Devils.

The central pillar of that argument harkens back to the Western cliche above, as it concerns the media in the Phoenix market.

There's no disguising the fact that Arizona State athletics has been near the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to attention from the local television and radio stations, typically just one notch above the Phoenix Coyotes. Yes, it has been that scarce.

One the other end of the spectrum sit the Arizona Cardinals, who have remained atop the attention-perch since their Super Bowl run in 2008. The buzz surrounding the team's pursuit of the future Hall of Famer has already monopolized the local media's attentions for the last several days, and should Manning put pen to paper, that fervor would be amplified exponentially.

Over the last three months, Todd Graham has done a fantastic job not only in rallying support, but in making people believe in Sun Devil football again. That in itself is a remarkable feat. One of the critical components in turning the ASU program around and realizing Graham's vision is galvanizing the fans, alums and boosters, something for which local media coverage will play a major role.

The anti-Manning camp feels that a Peyton signing will create a sisyphean situation, as the goodwill and momentum generated by Graham and the Sun Devils will disappear under a pile of red feathers as the local media will focus nearly exclusively on the Cardinals.

However, on the other hand, there is plenty of credence to the notion that in this era of football dominance over the American sporting landscape, there is plenty of room for both teams in the nation's sixth largest city.

Anyone who has spent any time in the Valley knows that Phoenix is among the biggest fairweather markets in the nation. Unlike established sports cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York, to get any attention in the media or fans in the seats here in Phoenix, there must be sustained and, most importantly, current success. Fall off a bit (see: 2011-2012 Phoenix Suns), and watch the hottest ticket in town get doused in iced water. Conversely, string together some wins, and the local media will remember you exist (see: Phoenix Coyotes last month).

Therefore, it stands to reason that the Peyton-to-Arizona story and ASU's journey towards relevance are entirely independent.

For the Cardinals, they are a 5-11 season with Manning under center from returning to their pre-2008 position in the minds of Phoenicians. For the Sun Devils, an exciting and successful debut season this fall will go a long way to regaining a sizable market share.

In the end, Abe Simpson likely had it right: the answer is a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Yes, Manning to the Cardinals would become the dominant Arizona sports story now and through the fall and winter, and deservedly so. Along with Reggie White, Manning may be the highest profile free agent in NFL history, and, of course, the NFL is the king of American sports. There is only so much airtime for local media outlets, and with ASU getting the crumbs after the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Suns have had their fill, it will make Graham's task of building a Sun Devil community foundation that much more difficult.

However, Phoenix is big enough to support two successful football teams. Graham is building something special, something that does not depend on media coverage to succeed. It's something that is fueled by passion, diligence and by emotional re-connection.

With the Sun Devil community already buzzing after three months and the available alternative and social media channels, the lone missing ingredient for an ASU renaissance is a winning record and a genuine infusion of excitement.

If that happens, that's something no Manning can obscure.

Follow me on Twitter @BDenny29 for the latest on ASU sports