We all know the old saying is true: All good things in life must come to an end, especially in sports. You see so many athletes and how good they are at their craft you just sit there and ask yourself will they ever decide to hang it up? Brett Favre was the talk of that for quite some time especially in his later years in Green Bay. He always elected to come back and then decided to hang it up after the 2007 season. We all know what happened after that. There was another guy who was on pace to break all of his records and that was Peyton Manning and he did just that. After winning his second Super Bowl (in which he was carried by his defense) and the worst statistical season of his career, the guy known to football fans as the sheriff has decided to call it a career after 18 seasons in the NFL.
When you think of Peyton Manning, so much comes to mind. The NFL record, five MVP’s, 539 touchdown passes thrown, breaking Dan Marino’s record in 2004 with 49 touchdown passes in a single season, breaking Tom Brady’s single season touchdown record with 55 touchdown passes thrown in a single season, most yards thrown in NFL history, 200 career wins, a comeback player of the year award and most importantly, two Super Bowl victories. I can sit here and say that from the years of 2003-2010, Peyton was the most dominant player in the NFL. When the Colts popped up on your schedule, it was a week’s long preparation on how you would try to stop this guy. What set Peyton apart from other quarterbacks was how cerebral he was and that’s how you have to be when you’re a quarterback. I’ve said this on so many numerous occasions, but Peyton Manning has turned the art of quarterbacking into a science. I just always took away his ability to read defenses, spot mismatches and get the ball down the field. He was that big of a threat whenever he stepped on the football field. 2011 came around and he missed an entire season due to neck procedures, four of them to be exact. 2012, the Colts parted ways with him and the Broncos signed him to a five-year deal. While in Denver, the Broncos were either the one or two seed in the AFC and the front-runners to win the AFC West. We never thought he would ever wear another teams uniform and we said the same thing about Favre as well but look what happened with that.
With all the success came some downfall as well for the future hall of famer. While in Indianapolis, the Colts always had great offenses and excellent regular seasons but they could never get to the big game and they could never beat the team who always stood in their way and that was Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Peyton lost his first seven battles with Brady in what would become one of the best quarterback rivalries of all-time. In 2005, Peyton finally got that monkey off his back and got his first win against New England. The next year, he beat them again including a win in an epic AFC Championship game over the Patriots and then went on to defeat the Bears in Super Bowl 41. There were always talks about how he shined in the regular seasons but when January came around, he was a different guy. We’ve always talked about Peyton carrying a team throughout his career, in 2015, a defense finally carried him.
Peyton Manning is a lead-pipe lock for Canton, Ohio in five years and he will be the first ballot. I have received so many questions about where he ranks amongst the best quarterbacks of all time. He is number three on my list behind Joe Montana and Tom Brady. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have watched one of the greats step on the field and be so consistent with his craft while in his prime. Peyton, it’s been fun to watch you. I wish you the very best in your life after football.