Is Peyton Manning a Choker?

By Andrew Fisher
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning has had quite the NFL career so far. He’s had ups and downs, and there was a time when many thought he would never play football again. Even after taking an entire year off from football in 2011, Manning quickly returned to form in 2012. Sure, you have those that question his arm strength, but he never had that great of an arm to begin with. Other than that, he really doesn’t have any flaws in his game. That is, until you start talking about playoffs. Yes, playoffs.

First let me say, that I believe Peyton Manning is the greatest regular season quarterback of all-time. On any Sunday from September to December, there’s no one that’s more on top of their game than No. 18. He’s revolutionized the game with his signal calling on the field, and the guy just puts up ridiculous numbers, week after week.  In the storied history of the NFL, there’s never been anyone better in the regular season.

But when the calendar turns to January and the playoffs roll around, there’s just always been something different about Peyton. He doesn’t seem to run his offense with the same precision, and some of his intangibles just seem to go away. It’s tough to put your finger on exactly what it is, but he’s not the same player. Yes, defenses are tougher, but that doesn’t excuse bad decision making.

A bad decision was exactly what happened in the playoffs this past season. Manning threw a lazy pass in double OT, and basically ended the game. It wasn’t some tremendous play by the defense, simply just a ball that should have been thrown away. This could also be labeled as mental error. So it’s with that, where some start to use words like ‘choker’ when describing the great Peyton Manning.

As odd as it sounds to use his name and that word together, it’s fair to ask the question – is Peyton Manning a choker?

The answer is no. I don’t believe Manning should be labeled as a choker. Sure, he’s most definitely choked a few times in the playoffs, but he’s no where near earning the label of choker.

A true choker wouldn’t have made it to two Super Bowls. A true choker would not have a Super Bowl ring on their finger. So by the ring alone, Manning is cleared from that label, as far as I’m concerned.

So if he’s not a choker, what is he? To me, he’s just simply not ever going to be called the greatest of all-time. He’ll be a first ballot hall of famer and considered one of the five best of all-time, but just never the best.

But, if somehow the Denver Broncos can win a couple more rings in the next few years, then we may have to revisit the best ever discussion. In the meantime, if you hear someone labeling Peyton Manning as a choker, tell them to stop it.


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