Legacy. How an individual is viewed or remembered. It's something that is forever connected to a person, and defines them long after they are gone.
What will Peyton Manning's lasting legacy be?
|Photo by: Dustin Bradford|
You see, for as great as Manning has been throughout the course of his career during the regular season, he has been equally as underachieving in the postseason. On Saturday, Peyton and the Broncos dropped a double-OT thriller to the Ravens, 38-35, and in the process, Manning matched the NFL record for most career playoff losses with 11.
It also marked the eighth time in his career that he was bounced in his first postseason game of a particular season. Far and away the most in league history.
Adding salt to the wound, Tom Brady, the guy Manning is most often compared to as far as 'best quarterback of this generation' goes, passed Joe Montana as the winningest postseason quarterback of all-time the very next day.
It's not even so much that Denver lost, it's that they lost as the No. 1 seed, at home, coming off a bye. All too familiar as it relates to Peyton and playoff failure. In 5 of Manning's 11 postseason losses, his team was either a 1, 2, or 3 seed, playing at home. Meaning, they were favored, and still blew it.
Granted, Manning wasn't at fault in all 11 of his team's playoff debacles, same as Brady wasn't the deciding factor in all 17 of his team's victories. But in the end, fair or foul, a quarterback is judged by the final outcome. He gets the glory in a win, and shoulders the blame in defeat.
By now, Peyton's shoulders must be getting extremely heavy.
Clearly Manning has long since established himself as one of the best signal callers the game has ever seen. Still, a small, three-letter word may be what ultimately defines Peyton when it's all said and done. A single word attached to his legacy that may forever alter the way history remembers him.
6,000+ completions. 60,000+ passing yards. 500+ touchdown passes. Multiple MVP Awards. Multiple All-Pro Teams. Multiple Pro Bowl appearances. The greatest regular season quarterback in the history of the National Football League.
But...more often than not, didn't get the job done when the postseason rolled around.
Never has a three-letter word been so damning.