But this year, the Manning-led Colts have wandered into uncharted territory. They're 6-6 and Manning is struggling mightily, having thrown 11 interceptions in his last three games, all Colts losses.
Not very Manning-like.
Indianapolis has been to the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 years and every season since 2002. That may not be the case this year.
And you know what, it might be the best thing for the Colts.
We may forget on occasion, but Peyton Manning is human. He makes mistakes. This streak of bad play seemingly came out of nowhere, but #18 is 34, and the Colts have run the same offense for quite some time now. Are defensive coordinators starting to catch on? Maybe.
For as fabulous as the drafts were for the Colts in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the defensive choices in recent years haven't panned out. Injuries haven't helped either.
They have defensive end terrors Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, but rarely has the had a core of great players, who can consistently stay on the field. (I'm looking at you, Bob Sanders) Luckily for Indy, Manning has been able to mask any deficiencies with his arm.
Their running game is non-existent and the injury bug bites them every season. Sure, injuries can be plain old misfortune, but the same guys getting hurt every year is a huge red flag that Colts management cannot ignore.
If Manning wasn't around, this is a 3-5 win football team.
With his recent "slump", Manning has made it blatantly obvious that the Colts have a slew of problems on both sides of the ball and can't rely on these un-drafted, unheralded guys to continue to make the roster and become stars.
Sure, it happened with Gary Brackett and others, but it's not something Indianapolis can continue to count on.
Manning is as competitive as they come, and falling short of the playoffs would be a wake-up call to himself and the rest of the Colts organization.
He's still one of the best in the business, but it might be time for the Colts to start placing better players around Manning; become a more balanced team, because I'm not sure he can do it all anymore.