Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Peyton Manning is 39 years old and still winning football games. Four neck surgeries. Constant doubt. Predators lurking waiting for him to finally fall and the man just keeps firing pigskin ribbons like he just stepped on a football field. Unlike former Iron Man Brett Favre, Manning has made adjustments and endured. He’s surprised many, including his boss and former Bronco legend John Elway and his rival, Tom Brady.
When Manning had a rough opening week this season, a game that followed a weak preseason round, the vultures flew in. He only threw one touchdown, and had a passing rating below 50. Oh no, he’s finally done. Call the referee or the NFL quarterback coroner. Peyton may finally be relegated to being a commercial comedy king. Well, four days later, on Thursday night against Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium, Manning turned back the clock to…well last season.
He threw for 256 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. More importantly, with his team down 24-17 late with 1:51 left in the game, Manning led the team down the field in the 2nd most hostile environment for a road team like a technician. It didn’t matter the defense laid in front of him. He was going downfield and that’s all. He led them back and tied the game at 24 with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left. Vintage Peyton Manning on full display for the world to see.
Peyton Manning isn’t done yet. He won’t let the 2014 playoff one and done be his swan song. He still wants that second championship to easily put him into the top 5 quarterbacks list. Everyone’s list. He did something else on Thursday. He threw for his 70,000th yard. That’s right. Manning has thrown for 70,122 yards, or in other words, nearly 40 miles worth of completed passes. He’s thrown for 533 touchdowns, or 533 more than me or you.
The world of sports is a frenzy and causes many to jump to conclusions. We all do it. The speed of this mobile cultural driven world means move from one topic to the next. Most people want to deem Manning finished because it means they can move onto the next hot specimen in waiting. Well, as the old cowboy said when he was down on one knee, Manning has something to say about that.
We need the Peyton’s to stay upright. He’s a throwback, a man who doesn’t use twitter or take shots at other players. A guy who doesn’t like he belongs on the front of a bodybuilders magazine. He’s the classic pocket passer who has been silencing doubters ever since he made it into the league. People said he didn’t have the arm strength when he broke into the NFL in 1998. 17 years later, they are saying the same thing and Manning just keeps completing passes. It’s not how hard you can throw in this league. It’s about how accurate you can be under pressure. In a new system with a patchwork offensive line, Manning is still getting it done.
Go ahead and keep doubting him. Manning seems to like this kind of pressure and won’t make excuses for being old as long as the doubters refrain from thinking a bad week means a burial is in order.
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