What’s Left of Peyton Manning?
First all time in passing yards, first all time in touchdowns, 5 MVPs, two Super Bowls with two different teams. Peyton Manning was America’s golden boy. The do-no-wrong quarterback was the perfect story of grit and smarts and hard work.
Yet he’ll still be an afterthought.
Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, will forever be a footnote in history. The collapse of the empire to a greater superpower. Tom Brady has won the game, the set, the match, the battle, the war, the era. It’s all his. Brady will start next season at age 40 while being considered the best to ever play the game and the incumbent Super Bowl favorite. Meanwhile Manning is eating mud.
A story came out the other day from Deion Sanders insisting that the Colts regularly stole teams signals–the same crime as the Patriots–but without the use of cameras. This almost exactly a year after stories emerged of Manning committing inappropriate sexual acts against a trainer while attending college at Tennessee. Usually players grow sweeter with age. The time away romanticizes their glory days. Instead, the great Peyton Manning has soured.
That isn’t to say he won’t be a first ballot Hall of Famer, whatever the hell that’s worth, but when you think of Manning’s legacy it’s surprising how the most adored star in America’s most popular sport has been reduced to mashed potatoes next to a filet mignon in the span of a year.
If I were him, I’d hope Brady’s next season is his last.