There’s been a lot of talk this week about Peyton Manning’s plans after the season and how long he envisions himself playing football. Manning admits that the light is at the end of the tunnel for him, but he definitely plans to play next season, barring any health issues. Everything is set up this year for Peyton to win his second Super Bowl and quiet critics that dismiss him as the greatest quarterback of all time.
There was another quarterback that played for the Denver Broncos that faced the same scrutiny his entire career. That QB is John Elway. He was finally able to shake off the critics by winning back to back Super Bowls in his final two seasons in Denver. With Peyton Manning being 37 years old, it appears that next season may be his final season in the NFL. Can we expect the same type of finale for Manning’s career in Denver that we did with Elway? A win today against San Diego will have the Broncos hosting the AFC Championship game against Manning’s nemesis, the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. If Manning wins this game and gets the Broncos to the Super Bowl and wins, he should be able to eliminate all doubters on where he stands amongst the leagues elite. If he can close out his career with back to back Super Bowls like Elway did, he will be considered a football god.
Manning is 6,800 yards behind Brett Favre for the all time leader in passing yards, which is unreachable in just one more season, but he’s only 17 TD’s behind Favre for the record. Manning will crush this record next year. And for the record, Tom Brady sits 132 touchdowns behind Manning. Manning also holds 5 out of the top 10 best seasons in NFL history in regards to overall quarterback rating, including the number one overall season in 2006.
With everything that Manning has accomplished in his career, including two Super Bowl appearances with one Super Bowl victory, there should be no doubt that he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. To make it even more impressive, he’s excelled and won league MVP’s with two different teams and systems. Manning is arguably the smartest football player to ever play the game. What other quarterback in the league would be able to go to a new team and a new system and throw for over 4,600 yards and 37 TD’s, all after missing the entire previous season? He then followed up that runner up MVP campaign with the greatest QB season in NFL history with 5,477 yards and 55 TD’s, both NFL records.
Despite all of these accolades, Manning still has many harsh critics. Another Lombardi trophy should cement his legacy as the GOAT. The story is set for him to close out his career with two in a row. As a football fan, this would be the greatest storybook ending of all time. Manning’s career would end in a mirror image of Elway’s, he would have three Super Bowl rings, and would be looked upon by everyone as the greatest football player to ever lace up a pair of cleats.