Since getting drafted first overall in the 1998 draft, Peyton Manning has been one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. Week in and week out he has led the Indianapolis Colts from one incredible win to another. Few players can claim the statistics that he does. Manning has thrown for over 4000 yards in all but two of his 12 seasons. Most players would be ecstatic to have Mannings worst numbers (3739 yards with 26 TDs and 28 Ints in 1998; 3747 yards, 28 TDs and 1o Ints). Okay so most guys would want to skip the 28 Ints Peyton threw his rookie year, but there are many that probably would take them if it meant throwing 26 touchdown passes (i.e. Jay Cutler).
Is Peyton the best ever though? A look at the statistics alone requires him to at least be in the discussion. In his 12 seasons he has thrown 366 TDs(3rd behind Dan Marino and Brett Favre), 4232 completions (a very distant third to Dan Marino and even more distant to Brett Favre), 50128 total yards (a close 4th to John Elway but no where close to Dan Marino and Brett Favre. His 131 wins put him within reach of 3rd place Dan Marino (147) and 2nd place John Elway (148).
When people talk about the greatest of all time, all the aforementioned players are in the conversation, but with some other players leading the talk, i.e. Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach. While known of these guys are even in the same remote ballpark statistically there is one number that stands out for most of them- championships.
Montana won four Super Bowls; so did Terry Bradshaw. Young won three. Starr won the first two Super Bowls as well as five championships. Unitas has two championships under his belt as well as a Super Bowl win as well. Staubach led the Cowboys to four Super Bowls including two wins.
Manning has always shown unflappable leadership on andoff the field. Last season, one could not help but admire how he stood behind the actions of head coach Jim Caldwell even though it was obvious that he did not believe in what he was saying. The statistics will only continue to grow as the Iron Man-ning continues to play andhas a talented group of receivers around him.
In my opinion, most people equate success too often with the numbers. A look at the aforementioned players is proof positive that the quality of a quarterback is not in the yards or the TDs, but in the end result he is able to lead his team to. Manning is truly one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, but for him to enter the conversation as the best ever he will need to do something that has eluded him more often than not- win championships.