Peyton Manning already has a full resumé. He’s a multiple time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion and one of the all-timers of the passing game. Now he’s the comeback king.
Manning’s silly 2012 season with the Broncos — 4,659 yards, 68.6 completion percentage and 37 TDs — with a surgically repaired neck, proves he is far from the decline. Additionally, he’s primed for an even better season this year with added weapons on the offensive end, most notably Wes Welker. It’s rare to see a player as accomplished as Peyton achieve new things at this point of his career, but he’ll tell you none of that matters. It’s all about the rings.
"I don't look at what's happened in the past,” Manning said in the Denver Post. “We had a good season (in 2012), but we didn't finish the way we wanted to finish. I look at this year now."
Peyton has attributes that don’t simply go away with age. He can run an offense without a radio yapping in his ear; oftentimes, he does it to great effect. Manning can call an audible and get the ball in the end zone before the defense has time to get confused. On top of that, he runs an offense that commits minimal mistakes, as the Broncos were ranked 25th in the league in penalty yards suffered.
If other top quarterbacks are students of the game, Manning is a Rhodes scholar. No quarterback can read a defense better than him, and that’s because of the crack football brain he’s developed over the years. Peyton is the benchmark when it comes to studying film, so much so that Jerry Jones told Tony Romo to start putting in “Manning-type time on the job.” The result of that preparation is one of the best football minds in recent memory.
It’s clear to see how much Manning transforms a team, just look at the Colts’ abysmal 2011 season without him. In tandem with his staggering football IQ, he’s able to make the most difficult or frowned-upon throws look easy, rarely making mistakes in the process.
The only thing missing from Manning’s legendary career is his ring count. A player of his caliber deserves a couple of rings — as least as many as his little bro Eli. This season is arguably his best chance to get a ‘chip since Indy went 14-2 in 2009. Though we will remember the comeback season for years to come, you better believe championship No. 2 is going to be the only thing on his mind. Simply put, the best of Peyton is still to come.