On February 7th, 2016 Peyton Manning will play in his fourth Super Bowl with his fourth different head coach. I am just going to let that sink in for a second: four Super Bowls, four different head coaches. As we know he is currently 1-2 in Super Bowls with his lone victory coming over the Chicago Bears in February 2007 almost ten years ago. Manning has five MVP awards and has been voted to the Pro Bowl 14 times. He is easily one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. What about his legacy though?
The Legacy of Peyton Manning
The legacy of Manning will always depend on what stats you prefer to pick and choose when you describe a great player. Jim Kelly is considered a great quarterback as well and he went to four straight Super Bowls and lost them all. Joe Montana won all four that he played in and Brady has won four while losing two. Out of these quarterbacks, though, has any of them dealt with the same amount of pressure put on them like Manning has? Kelly was the only one that, like Manning, was drafted in the first round. Manning, however, was drafted first overall out of Tennessee to be the starting quarterback for a terrible Indianapolis Colts team.
If you take a glance at the record books Peyton Manning’s name is all over the place when it comes to quarterbacks. Hell, Manning found a way to break a Super Bowl record when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8. He just can’t stop breaking records. However, he will always be remembered by some for choking in the postseason. Every time Manning loses in the postseason it is his fault, Manning choked, blame Manning sort of thing. When the Patriots lost the AFC Championship who was blamed? Not Brady, Gostkowski and the offensive line coach who was even fired because they lost by two points. No other quarterback deals with the scrutiny that Manning does when it comes down to winning and losing in the postseason.
In my eyes Manning’s legacy will always be of a great quarterback who was only able to win one ring but I can easily point out quarterbacks that are also considered great who would love to have just one ring. Dan Marino would love to have just one Super Bowl ring, Randall Cunningham the same, and I’m sure Jim Kelly would have loved to have one as well. Peyton has that ring; he will soon be playing for a second. Brett Favre, many of whose records Manning broke, would have loved the opportunity to play for two more chances for another ring.
I know some of you will watch the Super Bowl and think that if Peyton Manning doesn’t win the game it will hurt his legacy. I urge you to look more at how the player has played throughout his entire career like you do Marino, Kelly, or Favre instead of holding Manning to this level that you don’t hold anyone else to. So what about his postseason record? You have to play in a lot of postseason games to get to that record. Also remember that Manning is 3-1 versus Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game.
Remember, Super Bowl Sunday might be his final game and as we watch the Sheriff take the field one last time think about his career. Think about how great of a quarterback he truly has been. Think about how many records he has broken and set, and think about fourth Super Bowl with a fourth different head coach and tip your hat to this legendary player. As a Chiefs fan, I have seen my team suffer plenty of losses to Peyton Manning and I will always respect him for his greatness. Goodbye Peyton Manning, you will be missed.