Broncos star quarterback Manning strives to cement legacy
By Alan Robinson
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 10:33 p.m.
NEWARK, N.J. — Peyton Manning is second all-time in NFL passing yards. He's on pace to eclipse Brett Favre in career touchdown passes early next season. He's favored to win his fifth NFL MVP award; no one else has more than three. He has a record 13 Pro Bowl selections and holds 55 NFL records.
In all-time Super Bowl wins by a quarterback, he's tied for 12th with one.
So is arguably the greatest quarterback of his generation — Tom Brady and his three Super Bowl wins notwithstanding — also THE greatest of all time when he's won as many Super Bowls as Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer? And one fewer than Jim Plunkett?
“Peyton (Manning) is as good of a football player as you could find at any level, at any time, in any state of the history of this game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday at Super Bowl media day.
But in the minds of some of the best players and coaches of recent NFL vintage, Manning might need to win the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl on Sunday to nudge his status from one of the greatest into the greatest — better than Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas or No. 1 all-time passer Favre. Especially if it's his last Super Bowl.
“He's done enough for me to say that he's in that discussion of the greatest of all time,” said former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, now an NFL Network analyst. “But I find it hard to compare quarterbacks of different eras. I find it hard to compare the Peytons with Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr and that era, even Dan Marino's era. The rules are different. It's a different game. It's a passing league now, and the numbers are going to be extraordinary going forward. … But will another win in a Super Bowl, with two different teams, which nobody has ever done, help? Of course it will.”
Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl winner, also said it can be argued Manning already surpasses all others. But for now, Manning wouldn't be Aikman's choice.
“I didn't see a number of guys, but (four-time Super Bowl winner) Joe Montana is the greatest I've ever seen,” Aikman said. “And I've seen him do it in big games, big moments, bring the team back. … I have an appreciation for guys who have played the position and excelled, and Peyton has done that. We're watching someone who many, many years from now, we're going to be looking back on and saying, ‘Wow, that was a special moment in time to watch this guy play.' ”
Manning, who turns 38 in March, started being asked only a couple of seasons into his career how he will be remembered.
“I'm not sure you can have a legacy when you are 25 years old, or even 37. I thought you had to be 70 to have a legacy,” he said. “I'm not 100 percent sure what the word even means. I'm down the homestretch of my career, but I'm still in it. It's not over yet. It's still playing out.”
That's what Mariucci likes, saying, “We have to remember, he's not done. He's not done.”
But former Broncos running back Terrell Davis is among those who believes Sunday is a must-win for Manning — in part because he's being paid so much money to do exactly that. Manning's contract with the Broncos is worth nearly $100 million.
“You've got to win Super Bowls,” Davis said. “I can't give Peyton Manning a pass when we don't give Tom Brady a pass. We don't give Michael Jordan a pass. LeBron James doesn't get a pass. We want to see the best of the best win it all.
“If I don't win a championship, then I shouldn't be considered great at nothing, because I didn't win it.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Judge again rejects league’s $765M concussion deal
- 49ers QB Kaepernick, 2 others investigated