Following a humbling Super Bowl XLVIII loss, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reiterated how much adversity he and his teammates overcame to get to that point. In his explanation, he refuted the premise that his team’s performance was “embarrassing,” calling the word an insult.
In short, I whole-heartedly agree that the term “embarrassing” would serve as an insult and that it completely disregards the journey Manning has had over the last 24 months.
After four neck surgeries, there is no way that Manning should have gotten to this point again. But, he certainly defied the odds and found himself with his teammates on the biggest stage of all in 2014. While the loss was incredibly disappointing and revealed several weaknesses in the Broncos overall, it is worth noting that Manning has taken some unbelievable strides over the last two seasons.
I am not quite sure if many understand the magnitude of what Manning has been through. His brother, Eli Manning, told NFL Network that after Manning’s first surgery out of the three he had in a span of 19 months, the two of them played catch together. During that game of catch, which happened to be just 15 yards apart, (Eli) Manning said that he thought his brother was never going to play again.
“I saw him after that first surgery, this neck surgery, and I was pretty much convinced that he was done,” he said. “There was no way he could come back and play football. That first time he went and we were just throwing it in the backyard of our house. We’re throwing 15 yards away, and it was a lob. He couldn’t throw 15 yards on a line. It had no pop.”
Just think, following that procedure and the thoughts (Eli) had in his head, (Peyton) Manning went through two more surgeries. For him to be in that bad of shape and to endure even more surgeries after that point, it is astounding that he set foot on a football field again.
Manning noted that he used last year’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens as fuel to get to this point. Though Sunday’s game resulted in a tough loss, Manning also said afterward that he hopes to come back and use this loss as even more motivation for next year.
Let me be one of millions to say that I would love nothing more to see Manning take the field for another season and come back even more motivated, more prepared and, dare I say it, even better than he was this past season. After everything the man has been through, he owes it to himself to give it one more shot.