How is Peyton Manning's Legacy Affected by Playoff Loss?
Peyton Manning's first playoff game with the Denver Broncos ended a lot like many of his playoff games with the Indianapolis Colts.
Despite Manning putting on a very good (but by no means great) performance—completing 28-of-43 passes for 290 yards three touchdowns—he does have three turnovers for the game that act as a black mark on the performance. It's not just the game-losing interception that would set up the Ravens' game-winning field goal.
Case in point: this first-quarter pick-six from Manning that put Baltimore up 14-7 at the time.
In the third quarter, the Ravens would again take advantage of a Manning turnover—this time, a fumble.
The fumble led to a one-yard touchdown run later in the drive by Ray Rice.
If you made the argument that Denver lost the game because of Manning (since his turnovers did lead to 17 Baltimore points in a three-point game), I couldn't blame you.
Does this affect his legacy? Well it kind of does, except these types of plays have been very typical of Manning's career in the playoffs, where Manning has these statistics.
Peyton Manning is now tied with Brett Favre for the most postseason losses by a starting QB in NFL history #BALvsDEN— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2013
The Twitterverse also has their own opinions, but I believe the following to be more of a fact than an opinion, considering the stat I just presented to you:
Manning has always sucked in the playoffs. This was known.— Matt Saccaro (@MattSaccaro) January 13, 2013
Some people even saw this coming, including Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier, who likely won't stop reminding his teammates that he saw it coming for the rest of their West Coast road trip—despite the fact that he seemed to be rooting for Peyton.
Shane Battier on the Peyton Manning pick: "I don't like to be right all the time." Everyone else in locker room: yes, you do.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 13, 2013
Since Manning is a Denver Bronco, you-know-who's former team (and since you-know-who did win a playoff game with the Broncos last season), you know that that name will be used in vain.
Dear Peyton Manning: You can never be me -- Signed, Tim Tebow— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 13, 2013
Then there's Tim Tebow's brother, who had this to say:
Am I the only one in Denver who's happy right now?— Peter Tebow (@petertebow) January 13, 2013
But in the end, how does all of this affect Peyton Manning's legacy?
Eventually it won't. Manning has been made out of Teflon since winning Super Bowl XLI. He will still go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, and the Broncos will still be favored to win the AFC West until Manning decides to hang up the cleats for good.
He won't see the same treatment as the likes of Dan Marino, Dan Fouts and Y.A. Tittle—he does have a championship on his resume—and he himself has turned in some great playoff performances.
Manning's legacy didn't really change much after the Broncos' loss to the Ravens, and in fact, he won't even receive the blame for the loss either. Many will criticize John Fox's decision-making at the end of the fourth quarter more so than Manning's mistakes.
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