Super Bowl XLIV: Peyton Manning's All-Time Best Conquest Will Have To Wait

Samuel Bell JrSenior Analyst IFebruary 8, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts walks on the field against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

After tossing the pick-six that all but ensured the New Orleans Saints their first Super Bowl win in franchise history, Peyton Manning looked defeated.

Beat down. As dejected he has ever appeared in a loss.

After all, it's not like Manning has never lost a big game before. He boasts a 9-9 playoff record, one of the knocks against him being the best quarterback of all time.

Something about the way he looked Sunday night just reeked with defeat and pain as he wasted no time getting off of the field once it was over.

Many saw Super Bowl XLIV as a chance for Manning to solidify his legacy as the best of all time. With his gaudy statistics, two titles may have just done it.

What Sunday's 31-17 Saints victory ended up as is a forum for Drew Brees to make a great legacy of his own.

It helps Brees immensely that he is the leader and best player on a team that went through the most catastrophic storm in recent American memory, just to emerge as world champions four years later.

No matter what Brees does from this point, he will be firmly entrenched on a pedestal in New Orleans as the man who led their beloved Saints to a title post-Katrina.

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Nobody believed that Brees would outperform the Mighty Manning and actually be the MVP in a resounding win.

Even more improbable was the misread Manning made in throwing the interception that sealed the game. For as good as Manning is, that throw made little sense.

On a route he and Reggie Wayne have connected on a million times, Wayne took it too deep, didn't give enough effort, and Manning overthrew it a bit.

In other words, it was both Manning and Wayne's fault.

Wayne came into this game playing against two average corners in Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer, and he was outperformed by Pierre Garcon.

Something about the Porter pick and Wayne's drop on fourth down to end the game appeared that maybe he was a beaten man a little before everyone else.

As this Super Bowl stands, Manning has to deal with questions about his postseason record and losing a game that he was heavily favored entering.

It was almost like Manning switched roles with his brother Eli for his upset of the heavily favored Patriots and Tom Brady just two years ago, but Peyton didn't toss the winning touchdown.

At just 33 and turning 34 soon, Manning still has time to win another title. In the NFL, going to the Big Game multiple times is extremely difficult.

If there is a quarterback to do it, Manning would be the one.

After this loss, he will have to. In a sports culture that thrives on championships, to be considered the best you have to win on the biggest stage multiple times.

Steve Young did it. Troy Aikman did it. Terry Bradshaw did it. Peyton was on the cusp of doing it Sunday night, but his interception derailed him from a title his legacy needed.

Oh, and a little guy by the name of Drew Brees.