Peyton Manning will aim for his second Super Bowl ring at the weekend in what could be his final game before a legendary career comes to an end.
Manning’s Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in the grandest game in American sports, but his “last rodeo” comments to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick implied that it could be his last chance.
We take a look back 10 great Manning moments…
Manning fails to win Heisman Trophy
Everyone in college football thought that Manning would win the 1997 Heisman Trophy. Instead, Charles Woodson won it. Manning, however, “won” the number one pick in the NFL Draft, which sent him to Indianapolis to spark off one of the greatest careers the league has ever seen.
First NFL win
A 17-12 victory for the Colts against Ryan Leaf and the San Diego Chargers… look how those careers fell to pieces. Ironically, Leaf was selected No 2 in the Draft by the San Diego Chargers. I think it’s fair to say that that pick wasn’t the Chargers’ best…
His relationship with Marvin Harrison!
People love Jerry Rice with Joe Montana or Steve Young but, for touchdowns, Manning and Harrison were the best combination the NFL has ever seen. They combined for 112 touchdowns, a current NFL record between a wide receiver and a quarterback. They also hold the record for the wide receiver/quarterback relationship in passing yards (12,756), and single-season completions (143) in 2002. They created a record for passing yards for a season with 1,722 in 2002. That’s pretty special, folks.
His first MVP award…
Manning won his first ever MVP in 2003 after a season where he threw 4,267 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Colts. Funnily enough, he was voted into the Pro Bowl.
… His second MVP award
Manning went crazy in 2004, throwing for 4,557 yards and 49 touchdowns, and had the highest average for a quarterback in history. Once again, he was voted into the Pro Bowl.
Finally, Manning’s going to the Super Bowl
This was great because Manning was beginning to be the ‘Greatest Player Never To Go To A Super Bowl’, after the Colts had lost back-to-back-to-back AFC Championship Games. But he lifted the Colts against the Patriots from a 21-3 deficit to win the game and book his spot at the biggest game of them all.
The first Super Bowl victory
Manning won his first Super Bowl in 2006, leading the Colts to a win in the rain over the Chicago Bears. He was named Super Bowl MVP as the Colts ran out 29-17.
Manning drops seven on the Ravens
The defending Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens were de-feathered after Manning threw seven touchdowns against them in 2013. That’s an NFL record. That was be the start of a season where Manning passed Tom Brady’s single-season record for most touchdowns thrown (50) by throwing 55 himself. The Broncos would be thumped in the Super Bowl by the Seahawks, and Manning was awful. But that’s another story.
Breaks Favre’s TD pass record
Manning threw his 509th touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas against the San Francisco 49ers in 2014. It was the second quarter, and the game didn’t stop for fireworks. Manning did, sitting out the final quarter as the Broncos were winning by a mile. Earlier that season, Manning matched Brett Favre in being the only quarterback ever to beat all 32 NFL teams.
Underdog Manning beats Brady
No one thought Manning and the Broncos would beat Tom Brady and the Patriots 20-18 in the 2016 AFC Championship game. They made comments about how bad Manning was and how he was past-it. Well, he was OK in becoming the oldest quarterback ever to lead his team to a Super Bowl, wasn’t he? And he showed some rushing legs, too!