Last year, the Denver Broncos suffered one of the most devastating defeats of all time against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. While the Ravens had the advantage of having their undisputed leader Ray Lewis for one last emotional ride, the Broncos also made a few albeit critical errors that cost them a chance at their own Super Bowl run. However, thanks to the resiliency and patients of veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, the Broncos have finally surpassed last years disappointing failures. Although the Broncos still have to win two more contested battles before they can completely exhale, their unwavering determination has definitely given this team a sense of resounding perseverance.
Despite Manning’s longevity in the NFL, he has the poise and exceptional consistency of a passer that is still at the height of their prime. At age 37, Manning set the new all time record for touchdown passes in a season (55) and even out did his own prestigious accolades in terms of passing yards per completion (8.31 yards per pass) and overall passing yardage in a season (he threw for 5,477 yards). However, it is well known that Manning’s debilitating struggles aren’t predicated on his practically non-existent regular season flops. Rather, Manning’s untimely missteps usually occur when his dominant regular season team makes it to the playoffs.
While the onus for these devastating disappointments can’t solely be placed on Manning’s shoulders, he has unquestionably made his own mistakes that have cost his team a chance at a championship. From the wildly thrown interception in the 2009 Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints to last years poorly thrown over the middle interception that allowed the Baltimore Ravens to kick a game winning field goal in overtime, Manning has definitely made his fair share of ill-advised mistakes. Yet, despite Manning’s inexplicable on the field hiccups, he has continued to remain vigilant each and every season. No matter what happens, Manning refuses to let the past overflow into what he wants to accomplish here and now. His statistical accolades along with his unprecedented intangibles that can effectively allow a team to rise from the ashes have made Manning an inspirational leader to say the least.
However, while Manning’s motives for greatness may be noble and justified, he still has to go the distance and win it all before this glorious tale can reach its desired fruition. Granted, the Broncos have the luxury of home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which will be crucial when the scrappy and supremely determined New England Patriots come to town. While their last meeting ended with the Patriots prevailing over the Broncos in the closing minutes of overtime, this up and coming Manning vs. Brady dual should be just as competitive as their last regular season meeting. While Brady and company are extremely determined to shut down the Broncos on their home turf, Manning has a hidden agenda that goes beyond simply advancing to the Super Bowl.
For Manning, a win on Sunday would go a long way in rejuvenating his confidence that his long tenure in the NFL was essential so he could get to this point to realize how important his career was to both the fans and analyst who have watched in captivated wonderment as Manning has matured and flourished as a distinguished and beloved NFL quarterback. While this internal thought process may seem a little conceded especially for such a humble athlete like Manning, it can’t be denied that his unwavering perseverance is at least partially predicated on his determination to be one of the most memorable and praised athletes of all time. While Manning would never admit it, getting to hoist up the Lombardi trophy for potentially one last time would mean more to him than anything else he accomplished in his career.
In the end, Manning has the determination and professional poise to be successful where he has come up short in the past. While most athletes would be tired and worn down from the years of physical punishment that comes with being a professional football player, for Manning, his drive for success and honor hasn’t been deterred since he entered the league in 1998. If Manning can continue to remain confident and as driven as he has always been, he as a great chance to cap off a hall of fame career with a well earned Super Bowl championship.