Peyton Manning: Two games for the rest of your life


If this is truly the last of Peyton Manning’s NFL career, then he will have two games to define his NFL career…

I have little doubt in my mind that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will never read this. Even if he ever did, I don’t know if he would ever agree with me, but I feel like he has two games left to define the entirety of his NFL career.

Obviously, Manning is one of the greatest to ever play the game, regardless of position. He’s broken unbreakable records, and he’s proven over the course of the last 18 years that he can play the quarterback position unlike anyone else before him, certainly anyone else after him.

Manning is, perhaps inarguably, the greatest regular season quarterback ever. Still, he has just one NFL championship to his name, and while many players have come and gone through the league without winning one at all, winning a second title at this age would cement his legacy as perhaps the greatest ever.

Tom Brady will always have more titles. John Elway will always have the theatrics and the late game heroics. But Manning has the ability to do something that neither of those guys ever did, or will ever do — win a championship with multiple teams. He also has a chance to finish his NFL career with a winning record in the postseason against Tom Brady.

I’m not trying to overreact, and I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. This game is just that important to Manning, both in terms of winning now as well as cementing his legacy as an NFL quarterback.

This is his last ride. It has to be. He’s breaking down physically and it’s getting harder and harder to believe that he will be able to hold up over the length of a full NFL regular season.

Two games for the rest of your life, Peyton…

As if winning another title weren’t important enough, Manning stands to make another $4 million this season if he is able to help the Broncos win the next two games. He’s worked so hard throughout his NFL career, harder than anyone could possibly even understand or know. That’s why his teammates want so badly to win a title not only for themselves, but for their leader.

Manning will always be respected as one of the greats. If he wins a second title — on a second team — it will cement his legacy as an historic NFL quarterback.

Broncos fans know as well as anyone, adding a second title to your mantle is more than just an anomaly. It gives you more than just the bragging rights of having been there before. Adding a second Lombardi to your name means you are held in a higher esteem.

There’s so much on the line for Manning in this game against the New England Patriots, and if he can help the Broncos win it, the Super Bowl as well. Not just a $4 million bonus. Not just another ring…

His lasting impression on NFL fans.

What will Manning be remembered as? Will he be remembered as the guy who just couldn’t get the better of Tom Brady? Will he be remembered as the guy who continually choked in the postseason?

Or will he be remembered for ending his career as the best?

He deserves that, but now he has to go and earn it.