5 Things That A Super Bowl 2014 Loss Means For Peyton Manning

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What The Super Bowl Loss Means For Peyton Manning

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It seems right that Peyton Manning may end his career with the Denver Broncos because he is the John Elway of 21st-century NFL players. Elway was a great quarterback who, for most of his career, played on otherwise mediocre teams. Those Broncos teams plowed their way through the lackluster AFC, but were then humiliated in three Super Bowls in the 1980s. Many people criticized Elway after those losses: he can’t win the big game, folds under pressure, is overrated, etc.

Although win-loss records do not lie, there is a bigger picture involved. Elway never threw to a Pro Bowl receiver, and very rarely had a solid defense or running game to support him. Great quarterbacks like Elway elevate the play of those around them, but players have a ceiling. Try as he might, Mike Harden could not hope to cover Jerry Rice. In simple terms, David sometimes beats Goliath but overall, Goliath has a very impressive record in such situations.

All this brings us to the Super Bowl XLVIII Denver Broncos. Manning is clearly in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks: his record five MVP trophies are well deserved. Like Elway before him, Manning elevated the pedestrian Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos around him. But it is one thing to win October contests against Jacksonville and San Diego, and quite another to compete with established championship juggernauts when the games really count.

Manning has clearly lost his chance to be remembered with Tom Brady and Joe Montana as one of the great championship quarterbacks of all time. So what is Manning’s legacy in 20 years?

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5. Franchise Killer

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An elite quarterback on an otherwise bad team can mean years of 10-6 records, quick playoff exits, poor draft choices and few options for improving the team. The fact that the Colts found another franchise quarterback after just one Manning-less season is simply "Luck" in every sense of the word.

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4. Gunslinger

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In an era when the pocket passer seems to be going out of style, Manning is the ultimate tough guy who can stand and deliver.

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3. Nice Guy

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In part because of his Gary Cooper "aw-shucks" act, Manning is one of the great teammates of all time.

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2. Fantasy Stud

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Anyone who throws 30 touchdown passes in a bad year is the fantasy football gold standard.

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1. Team Builder

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Probably his greatest legacy, like Elway before him, was the fact that Manning can take almost any bunch of guys to the promised land.


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