February 5, 2014

Direct Kick: Manning still one of the best despite loss in Super Bowl

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Ouch. That pretty much sums up Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks put a massive beat down on the Broncos to the tune of 43-8.

From the opening snap that sailed over Peyton Manning’s head and into the end zone for a safety you had this feeling that it wasn’t going to be Denver’s day.

In all my years of watching the Super Bowl I have never seen a team so unprepared as the Broncos. I don’t know what John Fox had them doing the past couple of weeks, but it wasn’t getting ready for the Seahawks’ defense, which was probably the most impressive I have ever seen on the big stage. I guess the old saying that defense wins championships is true, at least in this case.

Denver looked like it had never played in a big game before. They were making so many mistakes it wasn’t funny. Receivers making catches and cutting backwards to try and gain more yardage instead of going forward for first downs. On one of Manning’s interceptions, the one where his arm was hit, the intended receiver didn’t even try to make a play on the ball. He just watched the Seattle defender catch the ball.

So where does that leave Manning? Will he come back for another year, or ride off into the sunset? And what does this loss do his legacy?

Absolutely nothing.

A couple of days prior to the game Manning was named the league MVP for the fifth time. That right there says enough about his career to rank him among the best who have ever played, right up there with Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and Tom Brady, to name just a few. Marino never won a Super Bowl (having gotten there just once in his career) but you can’t argue that he was among the best to have ever played the position. If he does retire with only one Super Bowl, that still puts him among the elite. There have been quarterbacks who have won the Super Bowl that will never be regarded as “great.” And there have been quarterbacks who never won a title but are still among the greats of the game. There’s a lot of factors going into winning a Super Bowl ring. In 48 Super Bowls there has been 31 winning quarterbacks.

I mean, Russell Wilson now has a Super Bowl ring but he is nowhere near the talent of a Peyton Manning. At least not yet. Younger brother Eli has two rings but we saw this past season just what kind of quarterback he is. Joe Flacco has a ring. So does Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer and Jeff Hostetler. You get my drift.

Manning will go down as one of, if not the best, quarterback to have ever played the game. That is until someone new comes along.

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