Tony Dungy: ‘This is a Game Peyton Wouldn’t Have Dreamed of Playing 10, 12 Years Ago’
According to his former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, Super Bowl 50 was a game that legendary quarterback Peyton Manning “wouldn’t have dreamed of playing” earlier in his Colts career:
"“This is a game Peyton never would have dreamed of playing 10, 12 years ago,” former Colts head coach Tony Dungy said Sunday night via MMQB’s Peter King. “But when you win the Super Bowl, you’re fine with it.”"
While Manning spent nearly 18 seasons playing at an MVP caliber level, he was relegated to supporting cast on Sunday night, as it was the Denver Broncos defense behind Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller that carried him to the promised land.
It was almost ironic that in perhaps Manning final season, he was able to get another elusive Super Bowl Championship by playing a 2000 Ravens Trent Dilfer or 2002 Bucs Brad Johnson game manager role at quarterback–backed by a dominant defense.
I joked with friends late Sunday night that if Manning had this caliber of a defense earlier in his career, he’d probably have the most Super Bowls wins of all-time–certainly more than the two he currently possesses.
In 14 seasons for the Colts, Manning often carried those teams into becoming one of the NFL’s most winningest franchises despite often playing with a suspect defense.
Although it was an unusual situation for Manning–having starred for so many years in the NFL, he seemed at peace with his newfound unfamiliar role–whatever it was going to take to ultimately win.
As King writes, probably the biggest testament to this was late in Sunday night’s game:
"“Third-and-nine, Denver 26, 5:42 left. Surely Manning would try to convert through the air,” writes King. “No sir. ‘I thought I saw him change the play to a run,’ said Dungy. And Manning did. C.J. Anderson, gain of two. Punt. An incompletion would have taken maybe seven seconds off the clock here. The two-yard run took 43 seconds off. Britton Colquitt punted.Manning was playing four-corners. He didn’t care.”"
That would be something that would be inconceivable for Peyton in his prime, as the quarterback would’ve went for the “kill shot” in order to clinch the game. There’s a good chance he would’ve been successful too.
Instead, in the twilight of his career, the quarterback made the veteran savvy move and deferred to his defense.
Strange–but ultimately effective from what we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing from #18 throughout his legendary Hall of Fame career. At the end of the day, he now has another Super Bowl championship ring to show for it.