Indianapolis Colts fans got a great gift on Sunday afternoon.
Not only were the New England Patriots shut out from the Super Bowl, but the franchise’s former beloved quarterback Peyton Manning will be headed to Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos.
While at age 39, Manning can no longer carry a team anymore–the way he so eloquently did for 14 seasons in Indianapolis, he can still make the critical throw and effectively manage the game in order for his team to secure a win.
Despite the narrative that Manning is “washed up” and a “shell of his former self”, the quarterback simply outplayed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday en route to a 20-18 victory:
"Peyton Manning: 17 for 32 throws (53.1%) for 176 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 90.1.Tom Brady: 27 of 56 throws (48.2%) for 310 passing yards, 1 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a passer rating of 56.4."
No, unlike Brady, Manning wasn’t harassed by the likes of pass rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware all game, but he made the right play when he needed to, threw no interceptions, and his offense put up 20 points–having thrown two touchdown passes in the process.
Manning wasn’t perfect, but he was efficient enough to best Brady’s Patriots in an AFC Championship Game yet again:
The former Colts all-time great will now head to his 4th Super Bowl, where he’s previously been 1-2.
Manning won Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears in 2006, but lost Super Bowl XLIV against the New Orleans Saints in 2009 with the Colts respectively.
He appeared on the nation’s biggest stage yet again in 2013, but his Denver Broncos fell to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
By winning Super Bowl 50, Manning could right the wrong that was committed in 2009, when the Colts were upset by an inferior Saints team in my opinion. A game that was lost because of a few miscues and conservative play-calling.
Fair or unfair, there’s no question that Manning winning an elusive second Super Bowl championship would place him right there with Brady and Joe Montana as the greatest quarterbacks of all-time and further cement his still not quite finished legacy.