Peyton Manning: Super Bowl Bound or Bust?

Ian Beck, Maroon-News Staff

One of the most demanding positions in professional sports is the quarterback position, and for the past 16 years, Peyton Manning has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Due to his relatively advanced age of 39 and recent neck and leg injuries, his abilities have begun to diminish. It has even been reported that he has not been able to feel his fingertips for years. What’s more, he no longer has the same velocity on his passes, and his movement in the pocket is non-existent. While many people continue to argue that Peyton is on the decline, there are two major places where the decline is not showing: his numbers and his success in the playoffs. 

In Peyton’s illustrious career he has only been able to capture one Super Bowl title. There can be no real “decline” in his career at this point when the past three years have ended in one divisional round loss to Super Bowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens, a loss in Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seattle Seahawks who had one of the greatest defenses of all time and a loss to the up and coming Indianapolis Colts. Peyton has never been one of the all-time greats in the playoffs, and his performance in recent years is consistent with the rest of his career. Additionally, Peyton’s statistics are not outside of his averages. He is not putting up career lows or failing to produce, but actually producing numbers similar to the rest of his career.

 There is a reason why Peyton has been in the league so long and has had so much success; he is able to adapt to different situations and still lead his team to victory, year in and year out. Now, he utilizes talent in the Denver Broncos offense. Most notably, his receiving core is incredible. While he may have lost Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas over the past few years, he still has explosive weapons in Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and veteran tight end Owen Daniels.

 One thing that Peyton has done his entire career is command a pass first offense, but because of his injuries last year, he handed the ball off to CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Anderson and Hillman proved their ability to dominate the game and help keep the time of possession in the favor of the Broncos. Not only is it his team that is helping him win but his style of play. 

Previously, Peyton was able to make any throw on the field without an issue. Now his long balls are floating across the middle of the field and he’s unable to make some throws. Manning’s new style has become more dependent on screen passes to Thomas and Sanders, along with slants and timed routes that allow for his intelligence to make up for his physical shortcomings. 

Time is catching up with him, but for this year Peyton still has the tools and abilities to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. Expect the Broncos to compete for a title in the AFC West as they have for the past three seasons with an older, but still very capable Peyton Manning at the helm.