Peyton Manning became the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl when he lined up under center for Sunday's showdown with the Carolina Panthers, and the 39-year-old is now officially the oldest signal-caller to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after leading the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 Super Bowl 50 win at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Manning completed 13 of 23 attempts for 141 yards. While he threw an interception and didn't record a touchdown in the contest, C.J. Anderson's 90-yard performance and a masterful showing from the Broncos' defense helped Denver and Manning get a ring.
In an ironic twist, Manning broke the record held by former Broncos quarterback and current general manager and vice president of football operations John Elway, who defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 34-19, at the age of 38 in Super Bowl 33.
However, Manning's road to a second Lombardi Trophy didn't come without some serious pain. Before he was showered in confetti, Manning had to win the starting job back from rising star Brock Osweiler amid the worst statistical season of his career (2,249 yards, nine touchdowns, 17 interceptions) and a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
"When you’re not able to contribute because you can’t participate, you try to be patient," Manning said when reflecting on his season, per the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell. "My role has been different, and my contributions are different. I’m fortunate and grateful that I have the opportunity to contribute still in some way."
Manning stayed patient and it paid off. After missing six games with the foot injury, he returned in time to salvage a sloppy Week 17 showdown against the San Diego Chargers, lead the Broncos to the AFC's No. 1 seed and regain control of the starting gig.
Manning's postseason production (539 passing yards, two touchdowns, 55.4 percent completion rate) against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Panthers didn't live up to his historically significant standards, but it was enough to propel the Broncos to the Super Bowl victory, and to their second appearance in the game in three years.
And ultimately, that's what mattered.
The numbers were lackluster, and Manning may have been relegated to the role of game manager, but his ability to take a backseat to Denver's dominant defense and embrace his new identity ultimately allowed the Broncos to flourish.
"There are certain games that get to a certain point where managing the game the right way is the key to win," Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said, according to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez. "It’s using the clock or simple things such as that. Anytime somebody is considered a darn-good game manager, I think that’s a compliment to them."
Thanks to his adaptive practices, Manning can now scribble a second Super Bowl victory onto a resume that resembles a never-ending scroll of parchment.
And since Manning's status as one of the game's all-time greats only stands to appreciate over time following Sunday's triumph, he should be firmly wedged into the conversation regarding the most prolific passers to ever play.