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I do not hate Peyton Manning, and if I had to lay my journalistic bias out on the table, I would say that heading into the Super Bowl I am "rooting" for Manning to win another Super Bowl.
I like great players to be remembered for being great. I don't want to remember Peyton as the best regular-season quarterback who couldn't win as many Super Bowls as his brother. I'm a sentimentalist that way.
Or maybe it's this: Maybe I'm already sick of people talking about what this means to Manning's legacy. Oh lord, am I sick of the legacy talk.
The guy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer in waiting. He will be a unanimous choice for Canton whether he wins the Super Bowl or not. Yes, we love to debate the "best ever" scenario, and winning another Super Bowl begins to qualify him for that conversation, so in that regard I don't mind it, I suppose. I just don't want to hear 13 days of questions about Manning in big games.
Even leading into the AFC title game, I read people picking against Manning more than for Tom Brady and the Patriots. "Oh, Peyton is going to blow it" seemed to be an actual prevailing sentiment.
Did those people watch this season and see how he played? Did they watch the playoff game last week?
We'll get it this week too, even more with how great Seattle's defense has been all year. I'm all for analysis of how Manning matches up against the best defense in the league, and I understand that he has had a few bad playoff performances in his career, but I'm not on board with assuming he's going to blow it because Tee Martin won a national championship and Peyton didn’t.
Yep, I heard that one on my local radio station on Sunday. If that's not analysis, I don't know what is.
And that's not all we have to begrudgingly look forward to in terms of legacy talk. Manning is going for his second Super Bowl in the House That Eli Rents. Eli won the Super Bowl in Peyton's old place, and undoubtedly Archie Manning will find a way onto every media outlet that will talk to him. It's a Manningpalooza.
Plus there's the talk that if Peyton wins, he'll pull a John Elway and retire. (Note: Elway retired after winning his second Super Bowl in a row, so if Peyton wins, double down on that talk this time next year.)
The connection to Elway is actually pretty interesting, but given how much we'll likely read and hear about that over the next two weeks, I'm not entirely looking forward to any of it.
Oh, and don't get me wrong—I'll be writing about some of this. That's what we do. We over-cover everything, especially the quarterbacks. It's the Super Bowl, so it's worth it.
I guess if I get too sick of being spoon-fed Manning talk, I can always get a second helping of Pot Roast. Or Ham Hock. (I need to figure out who that is. Good thing I have two weeks to find out.)