With all of the negative criticism flooding news headlines regarding Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s poor Week 10 performance, it’s time to remind the world of some of his amazing career accomplishments.
Instead of kicking Manning while he is down, let’s focus on some of his career-firsts, records and outstanding moments from the last two decades as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.
1998 Week 5: Manning’s first NFL career win
Not only did 1998 debut the children’s electronic toy, the “Furby”, but quarterback Peyton Manning was selected as the first overall pick by the Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Like many rookies, Manning struggled out of the gate, losing his first four games.
He finally posted his first NFL career win in Week 5 at home, beating the San Diego Chargers 17-12. Manning’s performance wasn’t spectacular when he completed only 12-of-23 passes for 137 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but it was the first of his current 186 wins he officially has on the books.
Other than Manning’s rookie season when he finished 3-13, he has only once posted a season when he had less than 10 wins for the year. Currently, his record through 2015 stands at 186-79.
2004 Wild Card Game: Manning’s first playoff victory
In January of 2004, Manning claimed his first-ever playoff victory when the Colts beat the Denver Broncos in massive 41-10 win in Indianapolis.
Manning achieved a perfect passer rating in that game after he completed 22-of-26 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns, remaining clean throughout. Additionally, 327 of Manning’s yards were already registered by halftime. This major win put to rest any murmurings that Manning wasn’t able to come through in big games. Regarding Manning’s accomplishment, former Colts’ head coach Tony Dungy defended his quarterback, via ESPN.
“I hope people think this was a big game. We kept hearing about Peyton’s failure to win big games. I guess this was a big one.”
Manning and the Colts next proceeded to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional playoffs, then unfortunately lost the Conference championship to the Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
2004 Week 11: Manning passes for six touchdowns, sets record
In a 2004 Thanksgiving day matchup with Detroit, Manning and Co. feasted on the Lions when he threw six touchdown passes at Ford Field. Remaining interception-free during this feat, Manning completed 23-of-28 passes for 236 yards.
Manning’s six touchdown passes led him to break Dan Marino’s former record of a four-game streak consisting of at least four scores. This Thanksgiving day matchup was Manning’s fifth game in a row when he passed for at least four touchdowns.
Following the game, Brandon Stokely, who caught three of Manning’s touchdowns, boasted about his quarterback via ESPN.
“He’s the best that’s ever played this game as far as quarterbacks are concerned. When he’s retired, they’ll compare everybody to Peyton Manning, without a doubt.”
Manning finished the 2004 season with a then-career-high 49 touchdowns and 4,557 passing yards.
2007 AFC Championship: Manning finally defeats Patriots
In the 2007 AFC Championship Game against New England, Manning and the Colts finally gained the upper hand and claimed victory over Brady and the Patriots.
After losing to the Patriots in the 2004 AFC Conference matchup 24-14, and again in 2005, 20-3, Manning had his way with the Pats when the Colts managed a 38-34 home win.
Manning led his team that was down by 18 points in the second quarter to a game-clinching 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter. It was the biggest career win for Manning thus far and earned the Colts a spot in Super Bowl XLI. Though, Manning wouldn’t admit he got a monkey off his back in the win via ESPN.
“I don’t get into monkeys and vindication. I don’t play that card. I know how hard I worked this season, I know how hard I worked this week.”
The history between Manning and Brady goes back many years and this time around, the Colts outperformed their nemesis AFC rival.
Super Bowl XLI: Manning’s first championship
After nine seasons of quarterbacking the Colts, Manning finally led Indy to the Super Bowl. The only other time the franchise had reached that point was when it was in Baltimore.
The Super Bowl took place on Sunday, February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium against a Rex Grossman-led Chicago Bears. And, Manning’s future legacy would only be enhanced by the marking of his first Championship victory.
Upon conclusion of the game, the Colts beat the Bears 29-17 and Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP. Coach Dungy knew he had a super star in Manning via ESPN.
“If people thought that [Manning’s career was incomplete without a Super Bowl victory], that’s just wrong. But now, he’s done it. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, one of the best that’s ever played the game.”
To this date, Manning has only the one ring, which makes this milestone victory all the more precious.
2012 Week 6: Manning and the Broncos tie biggest comeback ever
Fast-forwarding a few years, we highlight some of Manning’s accomplishments as a member of the Denver Broncos, starting with him tying the biggest comeback in NFL history.
The matchup took place in Week 6 in 2012 at the home of the Chargers when the Broncos fell behind 24-0 in the first half. After what must have been a powerful locker room pep-talk, Denver tallied 35 unanswered points on the Chargers, which never scored once again that evening.
Manning turned the game around and threw three touchdowns in the second half. And, the Broncos defense kicked it into overdrive when it picked off Philip Rivers four times in addition to recovering two lost fumbles by Rivers.
Manning, who finished the evening completing 24-of-30 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and an interception summed up the team’s mindset entering at the second quarter, per ESPN.
“We came out in the second half, everybody was accountable and professional. We had 30 minutes and I thought it was important to get off to a good start with that first drive. Hitting DT for the touchdown really set the tempo for the second half.”
In his 2012 debut season with the Broncos, Manning completed a career-high 68.6 percent of his passes and helped lead the team to one round of playoffs.
2013 Week 1: Manning throws seven touchdowns in revenge match vs. Ravens
In a stupendous career accomplishment, Manning passed for seven touchdowns in the NFL’s 2013 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
— Daniel Boniface (@danielboniface) September 14, 2015
We’re pretty sure this was a dose of sweet revenge dealt by Manning and the Broncos that were beat the last time they played the Ravens in double overtime during the divisional round earlier that year.
Spreading the wealth around in a whopping 49-27 victory over Baltimore, Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker for two scores apiece. Running back Montee Ball also was a recipient. The Ravens defense looked helpless all game long.
Those who drafted Manning in fantasy football were surely jumping for glee knowing they had a quarterback who was going to take them far in the 2013 season.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Manning becomes third QB to led two teams to Super Bowl
With Manning leading the Broncos to play in Super Bowl XLVIII, he became only the third NFL quarterback in history to lead a second team to a Championship game.
Unfortunately, the Broncos were wildly outplayed by the young and hungry Seattle Seahawks that pretty much obliterated Denver from the start of the clock, winning 43-8 in February of 2014.
While the Broncos were in extremely rare, poor form that game, we must commemorate Manning on his personal accomplishments and records broken throughout the 2013 season. Manning passed for a career-high and single-season record-breaking 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns in 2013.
Given that Manning was 37 years old at the time of his incredible achievements, he should still be proud.
2014 Week 5: Manning joins Brett Favre at the 500 career touchdown mark
Manning entered the 500-touchdown club when he recorded another amazing performance consisting of 479 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 of 2014.
Entering the game needing only one score to get to 500, Manning threw for three more to end the day with a total of 503 touchdowns. This was just five short of Hall of Famer Brett Favre’s 508 touchdowns on the record books.
Manning has since passed Favre’s mark, currently standing with 539. The only active quarterbacks within reach of surpassing 500 touchdowns are Drew Brees and Tom Brady who have 416 each.
2015 Week 10: Manning breaks Brett Favre’s all-time passing yard record
In a bittersweet performance, Manning entered Sunday’s Week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs needing only three passing yards to surpass Favre’s all-time passing record of 71,838 yards.
All it took was a four-yard pass to Ronnie Hillman to boost Manning’s total yardage to 71,840. The game was paused briefly to recognize Manning’s outstanding career accomplishment. Although his moment in the spotlight quickly faded when he struggled to deliver a total of only 35 passing yards before getting pulled from the game midway through the third quarter.
We were later advised by head coach Gary Kubiak that Manning should not have played due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Unfortunately, Manning aggravated his foot and was ruled out for his next game.
Excluding the 2011 season, Week 11 will be the first time since entering the league in 1998 he didn’t start a game.
Whether Manning decides to retire after this season or plays out his contract is unknown. Either way, the future Hall of Famer, 14-time Pro-Bowler and holder of countless other NFL awards has unarguably assembled one of the most remarkable careers of any quarterback ever.