February 03, 2014

Talking about the legacy of Peyton Manning

Yeah, he got to his third Super Bowl, but that performance last night against Seattle didn't help Peyton Manning much in his G.O.A.T. rankings now, did it?

Yeah, he's ahead of Dan Marino, but arguably, Marino was even more of a one-man show on offense than Manning, many years, and often with less defensive support. Don't forget that long-time Colts head coach Tony Dungy was a defensive whiz.

Let's ook at Peyton's three appearances. He wins against Rex Grossman! Rex Freaking Grossman. Then gets outcoached on defense against the Saints, and even more so against Seattle. (Iinterestingly, Manning's QB rating was the lowest in a Super Bowl .... since Rex Freaking Grossman!)

Let's look at, and compare, say, Kurt Warner. Also 1-2 at the big dance, but competitive in all three games. Take out either James Harrison's interception return OR Ben Roethlisberger's fantastic pass to Santonio Holmes, and he's 2-1, and has an extra halo for the dog-and-pony show from Arizona winning a Super Bowl.

Sorry, folks, but Peyton's still not in the G.O.A.T. talks. By Super Bowl rings, it's Joe Montana, then Tom Brady. Troy Aikman kind of counts, but he was angry last night over Russell Wilson being called a "game manager" because he kind of was. (You're a nice guy, Troy; now, sit down and ask H-E-B about doing another "selfie" in a commercial. As for Wilson, he could win many more; if not, he'll have the same label, plus the "short quarterback" label, to fight through.)

Even though he never won, I'll put Jim Kelly in the same rank or better than Peyton.

Pre-Super Bowl era? Otto Graham won a lot, albeit in a smaller league. 

Otherwise, gimme Johnny U. Master of the comeback, multiple pre-Super Bowl wins, and in today's NFL, he'd still have his touchdown-a-game passing streak in a place where Drew Brees never broke it.

Bill Simmons last week said that Brady-vs-Manning had now entered Bill Russell-vs-Wilt Chamberlain territory. Well, Wilt just lost another. And, like the real Wilt, we can't blame this all on factors outside his control. Peyton turned in an indifferent performance at times, even though the Broncos defense wasn't a total sieve during the first half and, until the kickoff return to start the second half, Denver was theoretically still in the game.

Will Payton win another, assuming he comes back to the Broncos? I give him at best a 50-50 shot of getting to another, let alone winning another. That defense looked like a sieve, albeit that two of the Seattle TDs weren't its fault and it was on the field a lot. Knowshon Moreno may get whacked for cap reasons.

And, Philip Rivers might finally put a full year together. And, there's still a couple of years of Tom Brady left, too. And, that's just to get there against an NFC that arguably has more top-tier teams.

So, no, Peyton fans, and Omahans, you likely saw Peyton's last appearance at the big dance, and almost certainly his last real shot to win it.

Besides, maybe it's just as well Peyton didn't win. We'd then have to wonder if a 2-time Super Bowl winning QB had joined his little brother not only in that, but also in alleged fraud

Because, I'm sure Peyton would like to sell memorabilia from that second touchdown pass. Or the score that put the Broncos ahead.

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