In light of the Denver Broncos‘ poor performance against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs on Sunday, many have started to whisper and murmur about the reputation of Peyton Manning. Some claim that his subpar playoff record and 1-2 Super Bowl record make him a choke artist. Others argue that his stubbornness to play at age 38 has hurt his qualifications as an “elite” quarterback. Some even believe that Manning’s willingness to play with a torn quad, which he injured against the San Diego Chargers earlier this season, was foolish and disrespectful to the Broncos.
If you happen to agree with any of the trending feelings above, you are failing to recognize who Manning is. You aren’t acknowledging that he is one of the greatest quarterbacks who has ever lived, and you’re forgetting that his comeback story is about as impressive as there’s ever been. You’re also getting caught up in the semantics of a pointless argument, as well as taking to heart the vast wasteland that mainstream media is rapidly becoming.
Don’t get caught up in the drama. The stories surrounding Manning’s “elite” status, his rankings among other NFL greats and his reputation aren’t important. As his future remains uncertain, simply honor the man he is: And that’s one of the most respectable professional athletes most football fans have had the luxury of watching.
Manning is one of the most innovative quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Audibles and hurry-up offenses existed prior to Manning’s arrival to the NFL in 1998, but none had ever been as complicated and thought out as his. His preparation and in-game management is unlike any other to ever play the game. These reasons are enough to perpetuate the significance of Manning’s reputation.
But why stop there? No player has thrown more passing touchdowns than Manning. He made the Colts a playoff team year in and year out when without him they were very weak. Exhibit A: The Colts’ season following Manning’s season-ending injury. He overcame inconceivable odds to remain in the NFL. After he was lucky to not become paralyzed, Manning went through multiple surgeries to return to the NFL. He had to relearn how to throw a football in a completely different fashion from how he used to his entire career.
In his first year with the Broncos, he led them to the playoffs. His second year he had the greatest regular season in the history of the NFL and led the Broncos to the Super Bowl, finishing with 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. He had to wear a glove on his throwing hand due to numbness in his hands from the surgeries. Two years prior he wasn’t able to throw a football. Are you kidding me?
So to all the trolls that rise from the mud in light of Manning’s poor performance in the playoffs this season, just back off. There are a lot of factors that contribute to winning playoff games in the NFL. Sure an 11-13 playoff record could be better and a 1-3 Super Bowl record leaves you wondering, “what could have been.” But we are talking about a revolutionary professional who has given back to the community since day one. He’s a man with five total MVPs and more NFL records than anyone can keep track of.
If the Sheriff decides to retire it will truly be a sad day for the NFL. Don’t waste your time comparing him to other players with better playoff records. Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler and Jim Plunkett have a combined playoff record of 17-4. Are all of those quarterbacks better than Manning?
Give it a rest. This first ballot Hall of Famer deserves your complete respect no matter what he decides to do. It takes a complete team to win football games and that includes more than just quarterbacks. Manning has been one of the greatest teammates any player could ask for. The best thing any fan can do is wish him well with this difficult decision he is now facing.
Good luck, Sheriff.