There are a lot of ways to build up hype on a Super Bowl and while other writers are trying to wrap their heads around the entire two team matchup and the commercials, I am going to tell you about Peyton Manning’s fight and what the chances are of him winning his second Super Bowl. I like to pick the juiciest topic and spin it for you.
Make no mistake it will not be an easy task, dry or wet weather. Manning is playing against one of the best defenses in the NFL and their players have their sights set on one man and it’s Peyton. Stop Peyton is the mantra, and in my eyes he can only be truly stopped if he isn’t on the field. This goes for all great quarterbacks who don’t throw a lot of interceptions or shoot themselves in the foot. Let’s break it down.
You can forget about his regular season stats. Trust me, they are pretty. In the history of football, there aren’t many quarterbacks who can match his regular season resume. He gets it done there. In his career(15 seasons of 16, 1 missed entirely to injury), Manning has only thrown for 64,000 + yards and 491 touchdowns(against 219 interceptions) with a completion percentage of 65 percent and a QB rating of 97.2 Those numbers shine like a brand new penny in any conversation, but these days, it’s all about his performance in the playoffs. This is where people get ugly and forget the guy hasn’t played for the best defenses or sits here today with a ring in his pocket.
Then again, this is the NFL and the most popular sport in the country and very much so around the world. That’s why several announcers from different countries storm the Super Bowl press box to live broadcast the game to their own countries, sitting hundreds of thousands of miles away. Can you win the big one? How many times can you win the big one? Peyton got his ring in 2006 and did so by defeating the Chicago Bears mighty defense and inept quarterback Rex Grossman(who is out of football these days). Rex was bad, but a lot of people forget Manning had to come back in the AFC championship game and beat Tom Brady to get there. That is where Peyton started turning things around against Brady in the playoffs. His Colts came back from being down by nearly 20 points and stole the game. That is why today Brady can afford to very mad about the Manning’s. The last three times he has gotten close to a Super Bowl, they have slammed the door on him.
Manning got the ring in 2006 but got booted by the Saints in the Super Bowl in February of 2010. If you are a Peyton fan like myself but can sit back and see a realistic picture, the memory is quite vivid nearly 4 years later. The game was a seesaw battle for three quarters. The Colts jumped out to a 10-6 halftime lead but the Saints scored to make it 13-10 in the third quarter. The Colts grabbed the lead back, 17-13 before the lead eventually sat at 24-17 Saints in the 4th quarter with just over three minutes remaining. Peyton was driving the Colts down the field, and was on the 26 yard line. He threw a routine 10-15 yard pass and Tracy Porter stepped in front of a Colts Receiver and took it 74 yards the other way for a touchdown. A bad pass, good pick and that was it. Game over. Manning’s dream shattered in an instant.
Ask Manning critics and they think he was horrible the entire game. He finished with a touchdown and the one interception, completed 68 percent of his passes and threw for 333 yards. However, in this game where one game tiebreakers make or break teams in the playoffs, the one mistake is what people remember. Right or wrong, that is the way it is.
Manning needs this win against Seattle. In my mind, he needs that 2nd championship ring to get into the talk for best of all time or at least top 3. Brady will still have 3 Super Bowls but the Spygate factor looms over his achievements in the postseason and what he has done since. There are other greats for sure, but Manning’s regular season dominance and his proposed 2 rings will put him right up there. Especially when you take into account his two team success and 4 neck surgeries that had many counting him out before the 2012 season. Peyton is easily one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Sunday may determine how high he sits. Professional sports can be unforgiving and carry a short attentions span for great players.
Manning’s biggest foe may not be Richard Sherman and that amazing Seattle smashmouth defense. His biggest obstacle in the race may be Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and his ability to rumble and gain yards and eat up the clock. If you ask any defensive coordinator, the best way to beat Manning is to keep him off the field. As long as he watches on the sidelines, he can do no harm. That’s the way and if you have a guy like Lynch who can collect so many yards after contact, the forecast is good for a Manning defeat.
Sunday has many storylines but none loom larger than Peyton Manning’s reach for true greatness. Favre won only a single Super Bowl before crumbling to injury also meeting his end via a Saints defeat(same year). A lot of other great QB’s have one ring and for them that could be enough. It’s different for Peyton. He puts himself out there with his commercials and publicity and carries loads of pressure on his shoulders every time he takes a playoff football field. Will he sink or swim? Is this the night Peyton achieves greatness or will he come up short again on National Television in front of the biggest audience in the world?
All he has to do is look up at the press box at John Elway for inspiration. He failed a few times before winning 2 late Super Bowls with the Broncos when he was 38 and 39 years old. Manning is 37 years old and may or may not return next season. My money is on him playing a couple more years. However, as he told the press this past week, the only game he is thinking about right now is Super Bowl 48. That’s a good mind set because that is the only game history is thinking about right now as well.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the game!