As the owner of multiple pizza franchises in the Mile High area, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning has made national publicity by giving away quite a few pizza pies. After Saturday’s performance on a frozen Invesco Field (three turnovers resulting in 17 points, including the game winning field goal after his final interception), Manning is now earning a reputation for giving away important postseason playoff games, which are becoming a little more difficult to swallow than his tasty pizza.
The Baltimore Ravens shocked the Broncos with a 38-35 double overtime victory in the AFC Division Playoff game. The Ravens victory will go down as a playoff classic; right up there with the San Diego Chargers 41-38 OT playoff victory thirty-one years ago over the Miami Dolphins at the Orange Bowl, where the temperature was about 70 degrees warmer than it was in Denver on Saturday. Both games had all the twists and turns and craziness which define memorable games.
And for all you long suffering New York Jets fans out there (I know you’re out there), the Ravens/Broncos game was the longest playoff game since the Jets 23-20 double OT loss to the Cleveland Browns on a cold January day in 1987 at Municipal Stadium. Jet fans will remember this game as the DE Mark Gastineau roughing the passer game. Sorry to scratch an old scab Gang Green nation.
Anyone remember Manning’s perfect strike to the numbers of New Orleans Saints CB Tracy Porter, which Porter returned 70 yards to the house in Super Bowl XLIV? With 3:25 left in the fourth quarter, Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were on the Saints 31 yard line and driving towards a game tying touchdown. On the play, Manning stared at his intended WR Reggie Wayne from the start of the play and could not have done a better job of telegraphing the ball. The only giveaway of that Super Bowl would result in the Saints 31-17 win over the Colts.
Manning also had four interceptions in a 24-14 playoff loss to the New England Patriots in January of 2004. When the Broncos signed Manning during the offseason, they hoped Manning’s generosity would be limited to what he does off the field. Apparently, they were wrong.
Manning is now 9-11 in playoff games, which ties QB Brett Favre for most playoff losses. As many recall, Favre is also no stranger to many generous postseason giveaways.
Sure, you can point a finger at Broncos CB Champ Bailey and the piss poor Denver secondary covering the Ravens receivers about as well as windbag Dennis Miller covered games on Monday Night Football. You can also dump on the Broncos coaching staff for not taking a shot at a win at the end of regulation with two time outs left.
But in the end, the game was in Manning’s gloved hands in OT to win…or lose. He ended up losing it by throwing a wounded duck across his body; a throw most rookie quarterbacks know not to make.
Somewhere, QB Tim Tebow is thinking to himself: I have one more playoff victory for the Broncos than Manning does. And for that, the Broncos rewarded Tebow by giving him away for someone who is beginning to have a little too much experience with costly giveaways at the most inopportune time. Pizza anyone?