Pablo Picasso was a master artist in painting, sculpting, drawing and ceramics, and is deservedly celebrated as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. As for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning? He’s an artist on the football field.
Pre-snap, he’s an artist working to make the next play his masterpiece, and his work comes to life when the ball’s in his hands.
The 16-year veteran quarterback has the Broncos off to a hot 3-0 start in the AFC West with Denver’s recent 37-21 Monday Night victory over the Oakland Raiders. Through the first three weeks, Manning has thrown for 769 yards, 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions while boasting a passer rating of 131.9. In his most recent outing, the elder Manning completed 32 of his 37 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns.
Every artist needs tools to make a great masterpiece, and Manning has his fabulous tools in the form of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker are all on the board, one of the deepest receiving corps in the nation. Decker led the trio with eight receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown, followed by Thomas with 10 catches for 94 yards. Welker finished it off by hauling in seven balls for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Tight end Julius Thomas adds a little pizzazz for the artist in Manning, grabbing his third touchdown pass of the night and finishing with 37 receiving yards.
Signing Peyton Manning last season was perhaps the best thing the Broncos’ front office could have done in terms of a quick turnaround at a Super Bowl, something that up until this point had been unattainable since the great days of NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway.
With Manning having thrown an NFL record 12 touchdown passes (seven of them having come in their Thursday night opener, making fantasy football owners very happy in Week 1), the quarterback is on pace to throw for 77 touchdown passes and over 6,000 yards.
Manning is by far the leader for NFL MVP. He has the chance to extend the record of four MVPs to five. The previous owner of the award won in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 with the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning is undoubtedly making history right before our very eyes. An artist before, during and after every (well, a good number of) snaps that he takes on the field, he is without a doubt showing no signs of slowing down. His arm is stronger than ever, and this offense is very reminiscent of his days with the Colts when he had Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.
While Thomas and Decker certainly aren’t Wayne or Harrison, they’re young receivers who have experienced tremendous growth spurts thanks to Manning. The biggest difference? A slot receiver in Wes Welker that only adds to the potency of a Peyton Manning-led offense.
Couple that with a decent running game that, despite its by-committee backfield, continues to produce and give Manning what he didn’t have a lot of in Indy: a running game to complete his prolific passing attack.
As the Broncos continue to roll with Peyton making the call, Denver will stay as the crown jewel of the AFC, and Peyton will continue to build his legacy. Just as Picasso painted and built his legacy, Manning is doing the same, and quickly establishing himself as the Picasso quarterback of our time.