September 7, 2013

All or Nothing For Peyton Manning This Season

By - Jaquan Murphy

We all knew Peyton Manning would hit the ground running when the lights were brightest on opening night, but no one expected what we witnessed Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens. With an eye-popping seven touchdown passes, Peyton looks poised for yet another spectacular season statistically.

Photo by: Getty Images
Yes, the adjustment grace period is officially over. People are done questioning if Manning is fully healthy or if he can still perform at a high level. Now it's Super Bowl or bust for the Broncos, and more specifically, No. 18.

And the expectations should be high. After all, Denver's offense is loaded. Peyton has multiple weapons at his disposal, including Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Third-year tight end Julius Thomas looks extremely promising as well, hauling in five receptions for 110 yards and two scores against the Ravens.

But big stats and double-digit win totals are nothing new for Manning. It's what we've all come to expect each and every season from the future Hall of Famer. 4,000+ passing yards, 30+ touchdown passes and a reserved spot in the playoffs are essentially locks year in and year out.

Unfortunately, for the most part, so are postseason shortcomings.

As much as we're used to seeing Peyton deliver from September through December, we're equally accustom to seeing him come up short in January. That's why his Week 1 performance means very little if the Broncos once again fail to reach their ultimate goal.

Why? Because we've seen this song and dance far too many times now over the course of Manning's career. Big time numbers, signifying nothing. As in, no championship.

Just on statistics alone, Peyton is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. He's also the only one in the history of the sport that has dropped his opening playoff game of a particular season on eight different occasions. Not exactly a distinction you'd expect to be connected to one of the greatest to ever play the position.

But it is. One that weighs heavily on his lasting legacy.

Even with a Super Bowl victory to his credit, critics are still very quick to point out the fact that Manning has a real bad habit of going home early once the playoffs roll around. It's the giant elephant in the room that Peyton supporters refuse to acknowledge, but see clear as day.

Perhaps Manning's Thursday night performance was an indication of things to come this season, right through February 2nd in Super Bowl XLVIII. Or, maybe it was a sign of what has become the norm as far as Peyton and his teams go; big regular season, early postseason exit.

Only time will tell.

However, if history has taught us anything, the latter is way more likely. And if that's the case, the 2013 season will go down as a colossal failure for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

All. Or. Nothing.


  1. Spot on. Anything short of a Super Bowl win will be an epic fail.

  2. It would be one thing if Peyton was still without a Super Bowl ring, but he isn't. Even if the Broncos come up short this season it won't really have any impact as far as his legacy goes. Not to me anyway. He's still a champion and he's still one of the best to ever play no matter what the outcome is.