After Peyton Manning’s Weak Performance in Broncos’ 24-13 Playoff Loss to Colts, Broadcasters Question Legendary QB’s Future… as Does Manning Himself
During Sunday's loss at home to the underdog Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning looked like a tired old quarterback with a worn-out arm.
The game just ended, and the questions just began. Peyton Manning was terrible today. He was helped by at least three dropped passes on easy screens and short passes, especially two by Demaryius Thomas, but Manning looked worse than I’ve ever seen him. Only one year after a record-breaking season, he lacked precision and arm strength, and looked very old.
In March, he turns 39.
Toward the end of the game, CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talked about how bad Manning looked, and he faded late in the season.
I recall what an announcer said of Joe Montana at the end of his career. The man who led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories was by then with the Chiefs. Following a playoff loss in which Joe Cool’s team had led at halftime, the broadcaster observed, “The old ones can still do it, but they just can’t do it for as long.”
Manning had a Peyton-like first half of the season, before looking his age in the stretch run, and following today’s loss, suggested he is rethinking his promise to come back for 2015, for which he is contracted to earn $19 million.
If Manning retires now, after 16 seasons, he will go into the books as the all-time passing leader in touchdowns, completions, and attempts, and number two—perhaps half a season behind Brett Favre—in yardage. He has one Super Bowl ring, five league MVP awards, one Super Bowl MVP award, assorted other honors, has been selected for the Pro Bowl every year but two (one of which was his rookie season), and has a mind-boggling stat sheet.
Still, if this is it for Peyton Manning, many observers will focus on his shortcomings. Despite being for many years the best player in the league, and on teams where he was surrounded by great players, he has been plagued by postseason disappointment. He led his teams, the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, respectively, to an 11-13 playoff mark and three Super Bowls, winning only one, against a woefully overmatched Chicago Bears team, 29-17, eight years ago. Six years ago, his Colts lost the big game 31-17, to the Saints. In the biggest black mark of Manning’s career, in 2013 he had a career year, led the Broncos to a record-breaking offensive season, and went into the Super Bowl heavily favored over a much less experienced Seahawks team, only to have a complete meltdown, along with his team, and get blown out, 43-8, in one of the worst chokes in NFL history.
Manning’s career will always be compared unfavorably to that of his archnemesis and rival for the title “greatest quarterback of their generation,” and possibly of all time, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, whose playoff record is 19-8, and who has so far led the Pats to five Super Bowls, winning three.
This is all most unfair to one of the nicest men in the game, and one who has one Super Bowl ring, for which he earned the Super Bowl MVP award. But as the philosopher Jack Kennedy said, “Life is unfair.” Peyton Manning’s problem has been that with great talent comes great expectations.
Award-winning, New York-based freelancer Nicholas Stix founded A Different Drummer magazine (1989-93). Stix has written for Die Suedwest Presse, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, Middle American News, Toogood Reports, Insight, Chronicles, the American Enterprise, Campus Reports, VDARE, the Weekly Standard, Front Page Magazine, Ideas on Liberty, National Review Online and the Illinois Leader. His column also appears at Men's News Daily, MichNews, Intellectual Conservative, Enter Stage Right and OpinioNet. Stix has studied at colleges and universities on two continents, and earned a couple of sheepskins, but he asks that the reader not hold that against him. His day jobs have included washing pots, building Daimler-Benzes on the assembly-line, tackling shoplifters and teaching college, but his favorite job was changing his son's diapers.