Barring a minor miracle, Sunday’s Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J. will see Peyton Manning surpass Tom Brady as the NFL’s all-time postseason passing yardage leader. Brady, who was eliminated by Manning’s Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, has thrown for 6,424 yards in 26 playoff appearances. Manning has just 115 fewer yards (6,309) in four fewer games (22), but his 11-11 postseason record does not compare favorably to Brady’s 18-8 mark.
Of course, as the vast anti-Patriots crowd will happily point out, Brady won his first nine playoff games with the help of an excellent defense, and he is since a middling 9-8, with a number of heart-wrenching losses. Manning took the opposite career narrative, struggling in the playoffs as a youngster, before exorcising his demons with a Super Bowl victory in 2006.
The Championship Run temporarily put an end to the talk about Manning’s playoff struggles, but the chatter has since regained steam. Prior to 2013, four of his last five playoff trips ended after just one game, with last season’s shocking double-overtime loss to the Ravens standing out as perhaps the toughest pill for Manning to swallow.
Now, the future Hall of Famer has a chance to end that discussion once and for all. He may lose the postseason passing yardage record back to Brady at some point, but a Super Bowl win would cement Manning’s playoff legacy in positive terms. Sunday’s opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, have the one defense that may actually be able to stop Manning from passing for 116 yards to reach the record. On second thought, even Richard Sherman and Co. don’t stand a chance against the NFL’s single-season passing yardage and passing touchdowns record holder.
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