Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

CNNSI: My Sportsman: Peyton Manning


Recommended Posts


click link for full article

My Sportsman: Peyton Manning

By Tim Layden

Thus far, Peyton Manning has committed two sins against American Sports Culture: One, he is a star quarterback in the NFL, but doesn't have a Super Bowl ring to show for it. And two, his body of work is best illustrated by cold statistics, which are the province of fantasy players and the weapon of the soulless critic who turns them against players as if the stats are the tools of the selfish automaton.

Forty-nine touchdown passes? Tom Brady could do that if he wasn't busy winning so many big games. (Mix in the fact that Manning is southern football royalty, born into greatness, and you have a target the size of Rhode Island for the cynical to take shots at).

Let's allow the Super Bowl thing to sit quietly in the corner of the room like a good elephant. Just for a minute. The rest is nonsense. Manning deserves to be Sportsman of the Year because he has elevated his game and his position to levels never imagined by his predecessors (or his peers) and because he has brought a backyard joy to the corporate NFL that extends from his line-of-scrimmage gyrations to his hilarious commercials. (Rare is the sports pitchman who can make selling fun). All of this he has done with class and dignity in a noisy sports world that is quick to forgive -- even reward -- bad behavior.

Before Manning arrived from Tennessee in 1998 (remember the Manning–Leaf debate?),the NFL quarterback had been reduced from a dynamic thinker to a robot executing orders sent from glass cages at the top of stadiums. They no longer called plays, they just ran them. Manning has restored the brain to quarterbacking, and without the huddle to boot.

The result has been twofold. Manning has through dint of his film study, repetition and game-day efficiency put pressure on defenses that coaches can scarcely conceive, and in a far less tangible way, he has made every snap an adventure, tearing down the fourth wall of football and bringing Joe Red Bull into the huddle. Sure, half of what Manning shouts about and points to at the line of scrimmage is meaningless gobbledygook, but the other half is genuine playcalling. When he points to a linebacker, he's often pointing to a linebacker for a reason.

The game is different now, because of Manning. And here we tiptoe gently into statistics. In just eight full seasons and 11 games into his ninth year, Manning was ninth in career touchdown passes (265), 11th in completions and 13th in yards. He stands to challenge every career record in league history. And for all you lunch-pail guys out there, he's started every game in his career -- 139 and counting as of late November. Since starting his career with a 3-13 season, Manning has guided the Colts to a 77-35 record in seven regular seasons, not including this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...