Peyton Manning’s Legacy, Super Bowl 50 Pressure – Daily Cavalcade

    Peyton Manning has nothing on the line in the Super Bowl – just his legacy and his place in history. No pressure there.

    January 25, 2016

    Peyton Manning has nothing on the line in Super Bowl 50 – just his legacy and his place in history. No pressure there.

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    Depending on what happens against Carolina in Super Bowl L – if it’s a Super Bowl, there is a Roman Numeral after it – in terms of pressure, legacy, and the place in football history, has there ever been a player whose already-legendary career has the potential to defined more by one game than Peyton Manning’s?

    Jerome Bettis and Ray Lewis were all-timer cases of going out on top with the big win, but neither one of them would’ve had a diminished status among the all-time greats if they lost their final game in the Super Bowl. For Manning, a loss wouldn’t be a shocker – Denver is the underdog – but a win changes things. A win changes the narrative.

    No matter how it happens, no matter how it gets done, no matter if he has an awful game or the offense runs the ball 75 times, Two-Time Super Bowl Winner Peyton Manning is a whole different animal.

    Trent Dilfer has one Super Bowl win. Joe Flacco has one. Peyton Manning isn’t Trent Dilfer or Joe Flacco.

    The idea that Manning is the type of signature star who can carry a team is obviously gone, considering about 20 NFL quarterbacks probably could’ve won the AFC Championship on Sunday for Denver. Switch Manning and Tom Brady in that game, and the Bronco pass rush would’ve made it an epic blowout. That doesn’t matter now, and it doesn’t make a difference that he’s Peyton Tebow being carried by the rest of the team. This Super Bowl will still be about him, and no matter what happens, it’s a key item on the resume.

    Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw probably get too much credit for their Super Bowl wins, and Jim Kelly and Fran Tarkenton probably don’t get enough respect for getting close, but that’s the deal if you’re the superstar quarterback who’s supposed to carry a team. Either you win the Super Bowl or you don’t.

    Manning was the reason why Indianapolis won a Super Bowl, and he was the main man in the losses with the Colts and Broncos. When you’re Jordan, or LeBron, or Brady, or Montana, and you’re THE guy, those are YOUR championships and everyone else is along for the ride.

    This would be Denver’s defensive championship, but Manning is still the guy under center and this is still his team. He’ll need to do what he did against New England and not make mistakes and come up with that one big throw to keep things rolling – that second touchdown pass to Owen Daniels was a thing of beauty. He’ll just need to be part of the winning team this time around, and then nothing else matters.

    Go out with a second Super Bowl win, and the losses to Florida will always be a thing, but not as much. The same with the two Super Bowl losses.

    Eli’s two wins, Brady’s four, the midseason benching/injury – all of that becomes a part of a journey rather than who Manning is as a quarterback if Denver wins this game, because he’s Peyton fricking Manning, and that’s what it is to finish up a career as a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Again, it’s not fair, and it’s not right, but watch the Buffalo Bills 30 for 30 and say elite players aren’t defined by Super Bowls.

    But the flip side isn’t kind, even if it’s not Manning’s fault in a loss to the Panthers – like the Seattle Super Bowl loss that wasn’t on him. If Denver loses, he’ll still be the guy who couldn’t beat Florida. He’ll still be the guy who threw the Tracy Porter pick six. He’ll be the guy who put up big numbers at Tennessee, while Charles Woodson won the Heisman and the national title.

    He’ll still be the brother with one fewer Super Bowl win, while the other one will forever be remembered for coming through in the clutch in his two championship wins over Brady.

    It’s ridiculous, but in today’s day and age, that’s how this whole historical perspective thing tends to work when it comes to quarterbacks.

    So play it up all you want that the Denver D is the reason why the team is in Santa Clara. Pump up Cam Newton as the MVP superstar having the signature season. Get jacked that this is the 50th big, giant game.

    Super Bowl L is all about Peyton Manning and his one, big, final chance to be Peyton Manning.

    No pressure there.


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