Ending on top: Peyton Manning’s NFL legacy

Mano Baghjajian - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

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On Feb. 7, the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50. Many attributed the Broncos success to its defense which shut down opposing offenses all year. However, the spotlight was primarily on Peyton Manning, the now two-time Super Bowl champion. After struggling through an injury-plagued season, Manning was finally able to bring a Super Bowl title to the city of Denver. Many expected Manning to retire as a champion like his current GM John Elway did and he confirmed with a final announcement on March 7. He has already left his mark on the game of football, breaking countless records and winning many awards. He will be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game.

Manning’s legacy is one of the most impressive in the history of the NFL. However, before his amazing career, Manning had a different legacy to live up to. Football runs in the Manning family. His father Archie Manning and his brother Eli Manning both played in the NFL. Manning was drafted #1 overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Playing football at the University of Tennessee, Manning showed he had the skills to make a major impact in the NFL. In the 2000s, Manning was unstoppable with the Colts, leading them to eight division championships. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl 14 times, First-Team All Pro seven times, and has won five MVP awards. Although he only won one championship in Indianapolis, they were consistently one of the best teams in the NFL in Manning’s 14 years there.

In 2011, Manning had several neck surgeries, causing him to miss the entire 2011 season. In the spring of 2012, the Colts decided to move on from Manning and released him from the team. Many suitors came his way, but Manning decided to sign with the Denver Broncos. He has now had a very successful four year run in Denver. During this tenure, Manning became the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes and passing yards. He also broke the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 55 in 2013. After winning his fifth MVP in 2013 during one of the best seasons of his career, the Broncos were defeated in the Super Bowl by the Seattle Seahawks. Many believed that Manning would never get his second Super Bowl title after what happened to him in Super Bowl 48. After battling through poor play and injuries in 2015, Manning was finally able to prove his naysayers wrong by getting his second championship in Super Bowl 50.

Manning has created a legacy of being one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He has not had the postseason success that quarterbacks like Joe Montana and Tom Brady have had, but he has recorded some of the most impressive stats that the league has ever seen. As Manning walks away into the sunset, he marks his place as one of the most interesting people to ever play the game. His classy, all-American persona will be greatly missed by the NFL and fans. Manning finishes as he always was: a winner.

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