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From the son of Archie to one of the best players in NFL history, Peyton Manning has been the shining light of his family in the NFL. You may know him from his appearances with Brad Paisley in the Nationwide commercials but long before he began his acting career, Peyton was a Quarterback that opponents feared on Sundays.
Before he even stepped foot on a national stage, Manning played his high school football at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana. In his three seasons as a starter, he led the team to a 34-5 record and was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player-of-the-Year and the Columbus Touchdown Club National Offensive Player-of-the-Year during his senior season in 1993. With his incredible success in high school, Manning was recruited by roughly 60 colleges and universities across the country, but he ultimately decided on becoming a Tennessee Volunteer.
In his four years at Tennessee, Manning became the university’s all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns. Those stats helped him win 39 of his 45 games played as a starter, which broke the SEC record for career wins. The next closest player to Peyton’s passing yards in school history is Casey Clausen with 9,707 yards.
Just like in high school, during his senior season at Tennessee, he won a multitude of awards. He was the SEC Player-of-the-Year and a Consensus All-American. He also won the Davey O’Brien Award for Most Outstanding QB, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for Most Outstanding Senior QB, and the Maxwell Award for Player-of-the-Year. All of these statistics and awards helped thrust Peyton Manning to become the 1st overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Peyton was drafted 1st overall by the Indianapolis Colts and he was tasked with turning around this franchise. In his first season, Colts fans may have thought the pick was a mistake. In his rookie season, Manning went 3-13 as a starter with a 56.7% completion percentage, all while throwing 28 interceptions to 26 touchdowns. It was by far Peyton Manning’s worst year of his career but after his rookie season, he only had one more losing season as a starter. Every other year, Peyton was considered one of the best in the game.
Manning played 17 seasons, 13 with the Colts, and another 4 with the Denver Broncos. He did miss one season in 2011 due to multiple neck surgeries. He won a Super Bowl with both organizations and set multiple franchise records on both teams, as well. Manning was 141-67 as a starter with Indianapolis and 45-12 with the Broncos, culminating in a 186-79 career record as a starting QB in the NFL, placing him third all-time behind Brett Favre and Tom Brady. He was voted to 14 Pro Bowls and was voted First-Team All-Pro seven times in his career, three of those coming in three consecutive years (2003-2005).
Looking at career statistics on the field, Manning ranks in the top 10 all-time in Passes Completed, Pass Attempts, Passing Yards, Passing Touchdowns, Passer Rating, and Completion Percentage. He also has the most Comeback wins in NFL History with 43. Despite all of these incredible statistics, there will always be a big blemish on Peyton Manning’s record and that is his playoff success.
Many people that argue the side of why Peyton Manning is not the greatest QB of all-time almost always point to his playoff success. Manning did not win his first playoff game until his sixth season in the league and didn’t appear in his first Super Bowl until his ninth season at age 30. He had a losing record in the post-season with the Colts and his defense carried him during the final year of his career with the Denver Broncos. He was 2-2 in Super Bowls and had a negative touchdown-to-interception ratio, throwing three touchdowns to five interceptions in those four Super Bowl games.
Looking at his career accomplishments, Manning won five AP NFL MVP Awards, three Bert Bell Awards (Player of the Year), the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2012 after returning from multiple neck surgeries, two AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards, and in 2006, Manning won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work off the field in his community.
Despite his shortcomings in the playoffs, Peyton Manning is still one of the best Quarterbacks of all-time. He will consistently be mentioned in the same breath as Tom Brady and Joe Montana and some may see him as one of the best pure Quarterbacks of all-time.
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