Peyton Manning: What This Season Will Mean for Star QB's Legacy

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 19, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 11:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Heading into the 2012 NFL Season, a lot of people were asking whether Peyton Manning the Bronco would be anything close to Peyton Manning the Colt, after the 36-year-old superstar missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. 

Ten games in to his career as a Bronco, the answer is a resounding yes. 

Ever since the Broncos took a chance on the four-time league MVP, Manning has been everything the franchise could've hoped for and more. 

He's led the Broncos to a 7-3 record, while putting up the type of offensive numbers we became accustomed to during his legendary tenure with Indianapolis. 

He's thrown 24 touchdowns, led Denver on game-saving drives, orchestrated some stunning comebacks and silenced every single one of the people who doubted him in the process. 

That's why this season may be the most important of his career.

As a Colt, Manning cemented his status as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but now, he's differentiated himself from some of the game's greatest legends, because he's done what few Hall of Fame signal-callers have, which is achieving greatness with two different teams. 

Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Joe Namath and all the other historically elite quarterbacks who switched teams in the later stages of their careers never reached the heights that they did with their original teams. 

It's too early to tell if Manning will ever win that elusive second Super Bowl ring, but he's certainly making a convincing case to win his record-fifth NFL MVP, which would be something close to the most gratifying way to exact revenge on the Colts, who opted to rebuild with Andrew Luck rather than continue with Manning under center. 

Regardless of whether he wins MVP, Manning has put together a statement season in 2012, and in doing so, has announced that he's still arguably the most dominant quarterback in professional football and is quietly moving closer to being considered the greatest to ever play.