The great Peyton Manning is done; one of the greatest to ever do it hanging up the cleats. He announced his official retirement today during a press conference. He thanked a lot of people that helped him get to where he is today, but its only appropriate that we thank him too. We all knew this day was coming but its a time to look back and appreciate what he contributed to the game of football.
Being a Tom Brady fan its never easy to give praise to your rival, but when its Peyton Manning, its only right. He earned the respect from everyone he played against and did it with a high level of integrity and enthusiasm. He set milestones that may be never reached again and cemented himself in the history books. Besides winning two Super Bowls, Manning holds a number of records that may never be broken:
• NFL career passing touchdown record: 539
• Most passing yards, career: 71,940
• Single season touchdown record (2013): 55
• Most passing yards, season (2013): 5,477
• Most wins (including playoffs): 200
• Most games throwing for 300+ yards: 93
• Most passing touchdowns in a single game (tied, 2013): 7
• Most games with a passing rating higher than 105: 97
• Most games with a perfect passer rating of 158.3: 5
• Most seasons with 350+ completions: 10
• Most games completing 80-percent passing: 19
• Most game-winning drives: 56
• Most comeback wins: 45
• Highest yards-per-game, season (2013): 342.31
• Most games with 4+ touchdown passes: 25
• Most seasons passing for 4,000+ yards: 14
• Most consecutive seasons with 25+ touchdowns: 13
• One of two quarterbacks to ever beat all 32 teams (along with Brett Favre)
• First quarterback to beat 31 franchises: 2007
• Most Associated Press NFL MVP awards: 5 (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)
Stats Courtesy of SB Nation
While Manning may never be the most winningest quarterback or have the most Super Bowl rings, he was certainly one of the best to ever do it. I mean the numbers don’t lie. Some of those numbers are ridiculous and may never be erased. In my book, and hopefully everyones book, he’s top 3 all time. He officially earned “GOAT” status in my imaginary GOAT herd; believe me, thats a great accomplishment in itself.
This dude’s arm motion and release was sickening but when you can throw a ball as accurately as manning did, you can throw however the hell you want. I have no idea how he threw it so accurately without even coming close to a spiral, but I guess thats what made him so great. Manning’s preparation, tenaciousness, and intelligence is what elevated him when it mattered most. Manning consistently broke my heart in the AFC Championship games, but I have to admit, he deserved it. He played his best when it mattered most, and thats what great players are made out of.
A lot of young quarterbacks could learn a thing or two from this guy. I mean, he kind of changed the game. I guess a better way to put it, is that he maintained his play while the game evolved. The evolution of the mobile quarterbacks has taken the NFL by storm, its difficult to find a true pocket passer such as Manning or Brady anymore. Don’t even get me started on that though, I mean, if all of the GOATs were pocket passers, why would you change that? Apparently Manning thought this way too. He knew he wasn’t the fastest or most athletic. He stuck to his brand of football and took the league by storm in the process. He was a true pocket passer and made the most out of it. Literally he holds so many records its stupid.
But Manning’s reign is over. He no longer has the opportunity to break my heart in the playoffs or tear apart defenses like he once could. To Manning’s friends and teammates, this is a sad day. But to the rest of the league, this is some of the best news they could hear. Yeah, Manning wasn’t playing at the level he once was, but he was still doing better than a lot of starters in the league. The league finally has an opening for a new superstar, its just a matter of who its going to be.
Manning left football a champion, which is only fitting. Even though he wasn’t my favorite player, he certainly earned my respect. Very rarely do you get to witness such great play. We were fortunate enough to watch it, live it, and appreciate it. Peyton Manning, we thank you, and we appreciate what you gave to the game. Im sorry we shit on you sometimes but at the end of the day, we acknowledge your greatness (GOATness) and we thank you.