Denver, CO. A losing career playoff record, at 9-10. A lower career post-season QB rating than career regular season QB rating. More interceptions per game in the post-season than the regular season. A lower completion percentage in the post-season than the regular season….These are all facts about the newest QB for the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning. As excited as 99% of Broncos fans were this past March when Denver landed his services, these are some realities that would be naive to overlook. The 4-time NFL MVP has done just about everything a future Hall of Fame QB can do throughout his career, in the regular season. He has dominated, lifted his teams to several 10+ win seasons, put up stats that few can match, and made the playoffs in 11 out of his 13 years in the league. But as great as he is, he has just one Lombardi Trophy to his credit. Although he will undoubtedly waltz right into the Hall of Fame one day, much of his legacy is still very much up in the air.
If I were a huge, die-hard, Peyton Manning fan, would I be disappointed in his career so far? Absolutely not. He has put up some outrageous numbers, and when it’s all said and done, may be #1 on some all-time lists. But as a playoff QB, I would be hugely disappointed. The post-season is where legends are made, and is the main reason why most people do not consider Dan Marino the greatest QB ever. He never won the big one, so he is lower on most people’s lists because of it. Brett Favre has just one trophy, like Peyton, and had a marvelous career. If he would have added one or two more, he would be ranked higher as well. Most people feel that either Joe Montana or John Elway are the greatest modern-day QB’s of all-time. Montana went 4-0 in the Super Bowl, and amazingly threw 11 TD’s to ZERO interceptions in those four games. Unbelievable. Elway appeared in 5 Super Bowls, won two, and carried the other three teams on his back that ended up losing, and losing big. The bottom line is, as great as Peyton has been, he has not achieved nearly as much as some other greats. And it’s not like his Colts teams were underdogs in the playoffs very often either. During his tenure in Indianapolis, the Colts lost at home in various years, as playoff favorites, to Tennessee, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and the N.Y. Jets. In another playoff game in January of 2003 at New York, The Jets beat the Colts 41-0. 0 points scored from a Peyton Manning led offense. I won’t go as far as to say he is a choker come playoff time, but he has had plenty of opportunities to get a lot more done. It took until his 6th season in the NFL for him to get his first playoff win. Just a little perspective for all of you Michael Vick, Tony Romo, and Matt Ryan haters out there.
The next few years are critical when it comes to Peyton Manning’s legacy as an NFL legend. Will he go down as a great one, in the same group as Brett Favre and Dan Marino? Guys who had amazing careers, but could have won more in the playoffs. Or will he raise his game a notch, win another trophy or two, and end up in the Mount Rushmore of Quarterbacks with Montana, Elway, and Brady? What happens in Denver over the next few years is going to be fascinating. Not even Peyton probably thought the last few years of his career would end up meaning so much.
Denver Sports by J Simp
2012 Denver Broncos Official Team Hats from New Era