I just got finished reading a fantastic article written by Peter King of Sports Illustrated. The article itself detailed many events around the National Football League but the centerpiece gave us a rare opportunity to hear the untold story of Peyton Manning and what he went through this past offseason.
I, like everyone else have been fully aware that Peyton had knee trouble before the season started. I knew all about the bursa sac that had be removed from his knee, and I was also aware that he needed a second surgery to further address the issue.
What we didn't know was the extent of the struggles Peyton had to go through in order to work his way to where he is today.
Manning's knee began to swell up like a large fruit around the time of last year's Pro Bowl. How he even managed to fly out to Hawaii and play that game is beyond me but after all, this is Peyton Manning where talking about.
The same man many laugh about when they see how dead serious he takes the Pro Bowl. Funny how he also happens to own every Pro Bowl passing record known to man, but that's another story.
Well into the offseason, Peyton continued to struggle with his knee. He had to have large amount of fluid drained from it multiple times before the start of training camp.
Speaking of training camp, it's yet another event most players are less than enthusiastic about, but Peyton Manning is the guy who lives for it.
He had never missed a training camp in his 11-year career, but now it was time to make a decision.
He opted for the surgery.
His problems were not over as even after surgery there was still fluid draining into Manning's knee.
Again, he was faced with the harsh option of going in for another surgery or risking the continuation of these knee problems.
Manning again opted for surgery.
The surgery that doctors told him would take 20 sutures in 30 minutes ended up requiring 80 sutures, extending his operation from 30 minutes to three hours.
Yeah, it was that bad.
Now Manning had to face the harsh trials and tribulation involved in rehabbing his injured knee while also getting ready for the regular season.
When Jeff Saturday went down with a knee injury himself, Manning had to focus even more of his time in training a rookie center to not only be able to handle playing in the NFL's most sophisticated offense, but to be prepared to block against some of the best defensive lines in pro football.
Manning struggled during the first seven games of the season and it was obvious that he was far from 100 percent.
Despite the disappointing 3-4 record, the Colts could have easily been 1-6 or 0-7 without the heroics of Peyton Manning.
Following the Monday night loss to Tennessee, Manning stopped requiring the extensive rehab hours he was needing to put in before hand. It was just around this time that Peyton began to excel on the football field as well.
No surprise there.
Over the course of the season, Manning helped lead the Colts to seven fourth quarter comeback after being down by as much as 21, 17, and 14 on multiple occasions.
During the span of this nine-game winning streak, he ranks first in the National Football League in terms of yards, touchdowns, quarterback rating, and wins. Throwing 17 touchdown passes to only three interceptions during that time period.
There have been many outstanding individual players this season, no question about it. But when regarding one player to stand alone as the "most valuable" in the NFL, Peyton Manning is in a league of his own.