In celebration of The Sheriff's 43rd Birthday, here are five of the best Peyton Manning moments in Denver Broncos history.
The Denver Broncos became very fortunate when the Indianapolis Colts decided to part ways with Peyton Manning back during the 2012 offseason. It definitely sent shock waves all over the NFL landscape. After a near two week time difference, the Denver Broncos were able to sign Peyton Manning to the team.
Denver had just won their first playoff game since the 2005 season with Tim Tebow as their quarterback. But it appeared clear that the signing of Peyton Manning was going to make the Denver Broncos competitive for Super Bowls again.
Everyone can remember where they were when the Manning news broke. I know I was a junior in college just coming back from my morning class. I turned on the television to do homework and watch Sportscenter when, there it was, Peyton Manning signs with the Denver Broncos.
I will admit that I was excited to have Manning but also sad because I feared it would spell the end of Tim Tebow. But alas, Peyton Manning made the Denver Broncos competitive.
During his four years with the Denver Broncos, he would provide so many great memories. Having said that, here are my top five Peyton Manning moments of all time in Denver.
Peyton Manning's Broncos Debut
After spending the entire 2011 season recovering from neck surgery, the Sheriff returned for the first time. However, he would wear orange and blue instead of the blue and white we have all been accustomed to know.
His first game in a Broncos uniform was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos opened up their season against the last team they defeated. So, there was no doubt that the Steelers wanted a little payback.
They would not get it however. Peyton Manning was able to make history during the game as he recorded his 400th touchdown pass in his career. The Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 on that Sunday Night. The game officially began the Peyton Mannign era.
Setting records in 2013
After a stunning playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round, the Denver Broncos would get their chance at some revenge. Peyton Manning remembered that game and made sure he made his statement against the Ravens.
No one would have guessed it would lead to the season of broken records. Starting off against those Ravens, Peyton Manning tied an NFL record for most passing touchdowns in a game as he recorded seven of them.
It would begin a big time season for Peyton Manning that silenced some of the doubters on his previous surgeries. By the time the dust settled at the conclusion of the season, the Denver Broncos quarterback broke the record for most passing touchdowns and passing yards in a season. Recording 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 passing yards. He bested Tom Brady's touchdown passes and Drew Bress' passing yards totals.
Sadly, the season did not end with a Lombardi Trophy hoisting. But the season was a lot of fun for the most part.
Peyton Manning passes Brett Favre in touchdowns
The records did not end in 2013. In 2014, Peyton Manning was inching closer to the all time touchdown record. To do that, he would need to pass Brett Favre's 508 passing touchdowns set during his career.
It would only take him five and a half games into the 2014 season to surpass Favre. In a Sunday night game against the San Francisco 49ers, Peyton Manning threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas towards halftime to become the all time leader in touchdown passes. At that time, he held the record with 509 touchdown passes.
He would add 30 more touchdown passes through the rest of his career. But it was this touchdown pass here that got Broncos Country excited.
Peyton Manning enters to help secure AFC's Top Seed
2015 was a rough year for the Denver Broncos quarterback. After returning from an injury that hampered him towards the end of the 2014 season, there just seemed to be something off from him. Luckily, the team had Wade Phillips and the Broncos defense to help bail him out of some games.
After passing Brett Favre, again, for the most passing yards in a career, Peyton Manning was "knocked out" of the game against the Chiefs after recording 35 yards passing and four interceptions.
He finally resumed practicing during the week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was still deemed unhealthy to play. He was finally listed as active in the regular season finale against the then San Diego Chargers.
However, Brock Osweiler had played well up to this time to stay as the starter. And it was looking good to start. Then it went downhill. Then we got to see The Sheriff return to the field for the first time since he was pulled against the Chiefs.
And did he lead them to a comeback. To this day, in my opinion, it was the gutsiest move that Gary Kubiak had made during his time as Denver Broncos head coach. With the Patriots having lost that day, the top seed was in sight.
The decision to put Manning in the game paid off as he would lead the Denver Broncos to a 27-20 victory that secured the top seed in the AFC.
Super Bowl victory
While Peyton Manning's performance in the Super Bowl was subpar at best, all of his hard work got the Denver Broncos back to the promise land for the first time since winning back to back Super Bowls in the late 1990s.
It was truly one of the many reasons that Peyton Manning came to Denver, to win World Championships. He thought this would be the best place to get that title. After four long years, that would come to fruition.
One month after the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning officially rode off into the sunset and announced his retirement from the NFL.
While Peyton Manning's time with the Denver Broncos was short lived, he provided the team with amazing memories. To this day, Broncos Country is very appreciative of what he meant to the organization.
Happy Birthday Peyton Manning! Thank You for all you have done for the Denver Broncos.