Peyton Manning’s greatest moments with the Denver Broncos? Our staff discusses some of the best Manning moments, and what he’s meant to this team…
What great memories do you have of Peyton Manning’s time with the Denver Broncos? For me, there are so many it’s hard to pick just a few. As Manning gets set to make it official on Monday in Denver that he is no longer going to be playing the game of football for a living, I thought it would be appropriate to take a trip down memory lane for some of his greatest moments in orange and blue. I asked the staff here at Predominantly Orange what they remember about Manning as their fondest memory.
Here’s what we came up with…
Tylor Walden, Editor
“My favorite moment of Manning has to be the final regular season game this year against the Chargers. When he came on to the field with a standing ovation and led the team to a win. I believed at that time, that this playoffs were going to be different. It started something really special.”
Cameron Parker, Staff Writer
“One of my favorite moments is Peyton Manning rollout fooling every one as he takes it in for the running score. Another would be his 7-touchdown performance against Baltimore to start the season. It’s extremely difficult to even not put this last season as one. This Super Bowl season will go down as one of the best ever in NFL history.”
Aric Manthey, Staff Writer
“My favorite moment was in the 2012 season. We were 2-3 and down 24-0 at halftime against the Chargers. We still didn’t know if Peyton would regain his old form but when they came out for the 2nd half, he led the team back and ended up winning the game. They then preceded to win the rest of the games that regular season.”
Adam Malnati, Staff Writer
“Aside from Super Bowl 50, which was the “mission accomplished” moment of Manning’s career in Denver, and ignoring the victories over New England in the AFC Championship games, my favorite memory of Peyton in Denver was the build up. Watching Elway maneuver to bring him in, the anticipation of finding a replacement for the less than great Tim Tebow, the tweets, the updates, the nerves, and finally, PFM in Denver. It was the best few weeks of offseason NFL ever, and looking back on it now, the perfect outcome for Broncos Country.”
Personally, my favorite memories of Manning extend all the way back to just talking about the idea of bringing him into Denver. It was so surreal when he actually signed, I just remember not even being able to form a cogent thought when the press conference to introduce him as a Bronco came onto NFL Network.
I had my doubts about what that season would bring, but I had no doubt that the Broncos were getting a guy that could lead them to a Super Bowl…
…I just didn’t know it would take all four years.
At any rate, there’s nothing to be ungrateful for in the entire Peyton Manning tenure with the Broncos. He was phenomenal. One of the things that stands out to me as a personal story was at his first training camp with the team in 2012. I remember it was a blistering hot day, as it usually is at training camp in July, and Manning was standing literally five feet away from me on the sideline, taking things in in between reps.
Manning had unscrewed the lid of a water bottle, unbeknownst to us in the crowd at camp that day, and it was unscrewed just to the point that enough pressure applied would pop the lid right off the top.
As he has throughout his whole career, Manning played this one cool all the way to the end, getting a kid in the crowd to accept his offering of a cold drink, but only if the kid promised to squeeze the bottle over his head as hard as he could. Naturally, the kid obliged, and Manning watched along with everyone else as the kid basically doused himself in water.
It wasn’t enough that Manning pulled this fantastic prank on the kid, though. He made it up to him by giving him one of the wristbands he was wearing.
In this picture above, you can see me in the sunglasses and bro-tank, staring blankly at a legend. But I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Not even two months later, I was back in Denver for the opportunity to watch Manning’s third game as a member of the Broncos. He made a valiant comeback, but somehow, Arian Foster and Matt Schaub were able to beat the Broncos on their home field. Schaub did it without part of his ear, if you’ll remember correctly.
That was the last home game the Broncos would lose that season until the playoffs, when they were beaten by Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.
Let’s not go there…
It’s already been mentioned on here by Aric, but it is worth mentioning again. Down 24-0 on the road against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, the Broncos were fish in a barrel. There was no chance of winning that game, and at 2-3, it was looking like the Broncos would be 2-4 and in really bad shape early on that season for a possible division title.
Pass by pass, one touchdown after another, Manning led the Broncos on the most epic comeback I have seen in my entire life, at any level of football. It’s a game that still stands out to me as one of the best in the history of this franchise, but also truly embodies what kind of player Manning is/was.
Against all odds, you were never out of a game with Manning as the QB.
As great as that whole 2012 season was, you couldn’t help but wonder ‘what if’ because that team had as good a shot as any of the Manning-led teams to win a title. It just wasn’t their time, and the Ravens were the team of destiny that year, but the Broncos took it to Baltimore the following season.
Due to the Baltimore Orioles (I think…), the Ravens weren’t able to open their 2013 season at home, so they played the opener in Denver. The Broncos absolutely slammed them into the ground, and Manning threw a whopping seven touchdown passes.
It was only a white hot start to the greatest season I have ever seen by an individual player. Manning was on fire every single week, and the Broncos set records that people said could never be broken by Tom Brady’s 2007 New England Patriots team.
The Broncos had some hiccups along the way, but for a consecutive season, they were the top overall seed in the AFC playoffs as Manning threw 55 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions, setting a single season record in yards and touchdowns. It was absolutely insane to witness.
That year, I was able to experience another one of my most beloved Peyton Manning moments, which was his five touchdown outing against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. I ventured into enemy territory, and Manning didn’t disappoint. He threw four touchdown passes to Eric Decker, and slung another one to Knowshon Moreno as the Broncos came back from an early deficit on the road to beat Kansas City.
Things were shaping up for the Broncos to take their third title in franchise history that year, but the Seattle Seahawks had other plans.
We don’t get into that either…
For the most part, 2014 was a year to forget for me, but it did provide us with some great Manning moments. The opener against the Colts, which would wind up being Manning’s first and only win against his former team in a total of four attempts. The game against San Francisco where Manning was masterful, throwing his NFL record-breaking touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in vintage PFM fashion.
The Broncos wound up as the 2nd seed in the AFC that year, winning 12 games and a fourth-straight AFC title, but fell to the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs. Once more, the odds were stacked against Manning and the Broncos but this time it seemed they had reached a point where they couldn’t get back to the Super Bowl again, let alone win one.
But while the offense was putting up record-breaking numbers, the defense was being built into something extraordinary, and the whole 2015 season was one where they were underestimated. Peyton Manning threw just nine touchdown passes in 2015 and played in just 10 games, but the Broncos’ defense carried him to the second Super Bowl championship of his NFL career.
It has been abundantly clear over the last year that Manning’s time had come, but it was a joy to watch him hoist the Lombardi as a Denver Bronco. That will be his lasting memory for me. For everything in between the time he signed on the dotted line to join John Elway and boys in Denver to the day he decides to officially call it quits forever, I will never forget the night the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and how Manning’s career was capped off in the greatest way anyone could ever ask for.
In fact, only nine NFL players have retired following a Super Bowl win.
Manning’s career ends as one of the greatest to ever play the game of football, and in my opinion also the greatest to ever play the quarterback position.
It’s been an honor to watch Peyton Manning, to make memories watching the game we all love, and to see his greatness on display with the Broncos rather than against them.
There’s no one like Peyton Manning, and there never will be.