Super Bowl Sunday this year was a big day for the Denver Broncos, and even bigger for quarterback Peyton Manning. Becoming one of 12 quarterbacks to have won two Super Bowl rings during his 18-year career, Manning has set himself up nicely for retirement where he will go down as a legend of the game.
Over his 18-year career with an overall quarterback rating of 96.5, Manning has put up monster statistics. This quarterback rating, or QBR, is fifth on the all-time list behind Steve Young and three active players who still have time to drop. On Super Bowl Sunday, he passed Brett Favre to hold the all-time NFL record of 200 wins in both the regular and post season. Having completed 6,125 regular season passes in his career, he remains only behind Favre on the all-time list. He is also second on the postseason all-time completions behind Tom Brady, with 649. His all-time regular season pass completion rate of 65.3 percent puts him tied with Tony Romo for fifth on the list. Manning also tops the all-time lists in passing yards and passing touchdowns with 71,940 and 539, respectively. For a more obscure statistic, in games where Manning’s team is down heading into the fourth quarter, he holds the record for most comebacks during that time, at 45. Manning is also one of the 20 NFL quarterbacks who have started in multiple Super Bowls. Of these, he is one of 12 to win at least two rings, along with his brother Eli Manning as well as elite names such as Troy Aikman, John Elway and Joe Montana.
Even excluding the ones mentioned above, Manning still holds a plethora of records. He set the record for the most passing touchdowns as a rookie at 26, only to tie with Russell Wilson in 2012. With wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Manning set records for quarterback-wide receiver duos such as completions, yards and touchdowns. For Pro Bowl awards, he has the most selections among quarterbacks along with passing touchdowns, completions and yards. Along with these, he has set many franchise records for the Colts as well as season records for the Broncos. With the argument that he might be one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, Manning has set in stone his position at the top of the list of quarterbacks to ever play for the Indianapolis Colts.
All of these precedents are minor accomplishments compared to exactly why he is an extraordinary player as well as an extraordinary human being. More than his five NFL MVP awards, his 13 Pro Bowl nominations, and his two Super Bowl rings in four appearances, Manning has achieved great things outside of the game. Motivated by family and faith, he managed to be both an exceptional football player and an outstanding philanthropist. He was born into a football household, for one. His father Archie Manning and brother Eli both competed as a quarterback at the professional level. As a teenager he committed his life to Christ and prayed before each one of his games. On top of that, his football knowledge is insane, and he actually memorized the Colts’ playbook within a week of being drafted.
Family details are often overlooked in an athlete’s life, but it’s hard not to know things about him when he’s been marketed as much as he has. People in Indiana are quoted to say that without Manning, the Colts would probably be in Los Angeles because of the improvement he brought to Indianapolis as a whole. In fact, the St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed the Children’s hospital to “Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent” in 2007.
Aside from his charitable actions, Manning has also made successful appearances on TV. such as Saturday Night Live and the David Letterman show.
All of this was mentioned without going into detail on his personal charity that earned him the Samuel S. Beard Award, his assistance during Hurricane Katrina and his string of awards he received in high school and college. The NFL was lucky to see a man like Manning enter and exit their leagues and it will be decades before we see someone even comparable to him enter the league.