Do you remember when we used to criticize Peyton Manning for his inability to win the big game? Of course, that dramatically ended and changed our perception with the Indianapolis Colts’ Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears three years ago, in which Manning was voted as the Super Bowl MVP.
It’s only been three years, but for me it seems like a long time ago and perhaps in another galaxy. This significant win changed our perception to the point that Manning is in the discussion of who is the best quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL.
If Peyton Manning achieves his second Super Bowl ring Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints, let the greatest quarterback ever debate begin.
However, my purpose in this article is not to persuade anyone’s opinion but to simply appreciate Peyton Manning, the excellent quarterback.
Manning is widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Since entering the NFL in 1998, he has won a record four MVP awards, won a Super Bowl, thrown for 50,128 yards (fourth place all-time), and 366 touchdowns (third place all-time).
Manning has been known for spending extraordinary time in the film room and studying the playbook.
He applies his knowledge of the playbook and the defense to such an extreme that almost each time he approaches the line of scrimmage in the Indianapolis Colts’ no-huddle offense, he reads the defense and audibles a different play.
Manning’s pre-snap routine has become one of the most recognizable scenes in the NFL. Manning and the Colts mostly skip the huddle, instead using a hurry-up with numerous audibles at the line of scrimmage.
With Manning as quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts have been one of the decade’s most dominant teams. This season, the Colts started off the year with 14 straight wins and went on to earn the No. 1 AFC playoff seed.
In the playoffs, the Colts defeated two of the leagues best defenses: the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets. Peyton Manning and his offense will face a less effective New Orleans Saints’ defense in Super Bowl XLIV.
Manning is a student of NFL history and he makes league history. He holds NFL records for consecutive seasons with over 4,000 yards passing and the most total seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing in a career.
Manning holds the third-highest career passer rating (95.2) among active quarterbacks and he ranks fourth all-time, behind only Steve Young (96.8), Phillip Rivers (95.8), and Tony Romo (95.6).
Since the Colts drafted Manning in 1998, the team has the highest conversion rate on 3rd down (44.6 percent) and 4th down (61.1 percent) plays in the NFL.
While leading the Colts to their Super Bowl XLI victory over the Chicago Bears in 2007, Manning helped the team to an NFL record by converting 56.1 percent of its 3rd downs. As I mentioned earlier, he was also voted this Super Bowl’s MVP.
Peyton is the all-time Colts franchise leader in career wins, career passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, and passing touchdowns.
Commercials and Community Involvement
As a proven, very marketable player outside of football, Manning has appeared in numerous commercials, was featured on the covers of the NFL Fever video games for the Xbox, hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, and guest-voiced on The Simpsons, along with his brothers, Eli and Cooper.
Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning started his own charity, the Peyback Foundation. The Peyback Foundation’s mission is to help disadvantaged kids and focuses its efforts in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana.
Peyton, along with his brother Eli, volunteered their assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Among the tasks performed, the Mannings assisted in the delivery of 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers, and pillows to the people of New Orleans.
On September, 2007, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children’s hospital to "Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent." Manning and his wife made a donation of an undisclosed amount to St. Vincent’s and have had a relationship with the hospital since his arrival in Indianapolis.
During the summer, Archie, Peyton, Eli, and Cooper run the Manning Passing Academy, a five-day camp which aims to improve the offensive skills of quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends.
Sources: NFL.com, Wikipedia
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