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Sports Then and Now

Peyton Manning Gets Chance to Make Super Bowl History

Posted on January 19, 2014 by Dean Hybl
It was thumbs up for Peyton Manning and the Broncos after winning the AFC Championship over the New England Patriots.

It was thumbs up for Peyton Manning and the Broncos after winning the AFC Championship over the New England Patriots.

Just two years removed from surgery that resulted in him missing an entire season and being released by the team he led to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, Peyton Manning is back in the Super Bowl after leading the Denver Broncos to a 26-16 AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots.

When he leads the Broncos into Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning will not only be looking for his second Super Bowl ring, but he will be looking to be the first quarterback to start and win Super Bowls with two different franchises.

Previously, Craig Morton and Kurt Warner led two different franchises to the Super Bowl, but neither could hoist the Lombardi Trophy with both franchises.

Morton was the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII, but his squad lost both games.

Like Manning, Warner was 1-1 in Super Bowl appearances with his first team. He led the St. Louis Rams to victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV and then an upset loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. It took seven years, but Warner was able to get back to the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals as they lost Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While Warner will likely one day be a Hall of Famer and Morton was a solid NFL quarterback for nearly two decades, neither of them is in the same league as Manning.

Many already consider Manning to be among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time and if he is able to become the 12th starting quarterback to win two Super Bowls it will put an exclamation point on his legacy.

Who is the Greatest Quarterback in NFL History?

  • Peyton Manning (23%, 30 Votes)
  • Joe Montana (22%, 29 Votes)
  • Tom Brady (17%, 23 Votes)
  • Johnny Unitas (13%, 17 Votes)
  • Someone Else (8%, 10 Votes)
  • Roger Staubach (6%, 8 Votes)
  • John Elway (5%, 6 Votes)
  • Dan Marino (4%, 5 Votes)
  • Sammy Baugh (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Brett Favre (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Otto Graham (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 133

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Craig Morton was the first quarterback to start Super Bowls for two different franchises.

Craig Morton was the first quarterback to start Super Bowls for two different franchises.

When Manning was MVP of Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts it was supposed to end the discussions about whether Manning could win the “big one.” But, as Manning’s regular season performances continued to compare favorably with the all-time greats, suddenly winning just one Super Bowl wasn’t enough for Manning’s critics.

It didn’t help that Manning threw a key late interception when the Colts lost Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints.

Once he joined the Denver Broncos after being released by the Colts after missing the 2011 season, Manning has been as good, if not better, than ever before in the regular season. He passed for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012 and then this season set NFL records with 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards passing.

However, when the Broncos lost their first playoff game of the 2012 season to the Baltimore Ravens to drop Manning’s career playoff record to 9-11, suddenly anything he did in the regular season was overshadowed by his playoff failure.

Though the Broncos again went 13-3 in 2013 and Manning put together one of the greatest seasons in NFL history, there is no question that had he not made it to the Super Bowl the season would be considered by many to have been a failure.

In fact, even though the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers in their opening playoff game and then Manning passed for 400 yards and two touchdowns to lead them past Tom Brady and the Patriots, it is likely that will all be dismissed if the Broncos don’t come away with the Super Bowl title in two weeks.

Trying to determine a “greatest of all-time” amongst players from different eras is at best an in-exact science and at-worst a total waste of time and energy.

Winning another Lombardi Trophy would certainly cement his legacy, but regardless of whether Manning and the Broncos win Super Bowl XLVIII, the 37-year old quarterback has proven that he is indeed one of the greatest to ever take snaps in professional football.

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