Super Bowl Sunday, a day where families throw on their favorite football jersey, cook out (depending on where you’re at), have a few beers and watch what I think is America’s real past time. Don’t get me wrong, baseball has a piece of my heart as well, but majority of it belongs to this game.
Mainly because of games like the one that will played on Sunday.
Now today marks my 1 year anniversary since my first piece was ever posted on the FanSided network. My first article was a little preview of Ray Lewis being the legend and Patrick Willis being the future. You can check that year old piece by clicking here.
I was very proud when that article was first put up by my NFL Spin Zone boss at the time, Mike Dyce. Now we can fast forward a whole year later and look at this match up between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
We’ve seen some great match up’s in Super Bowl history. John Elway going up against Brett Favre, Eli Manning going up against Tom Brady, Brian Urlacher trying to stop Peyton Manning, Joe Namath out dueling Johnny Unitas.
The list goes on and on.
Two legends who stand out on one side of the field, while two future superstars are hoping to someday be future Hall of Fame players like Manning and Bailey.
Now let’s start off with the legends, Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey.
I may lose most of you, but let’s look at this as if it were a tag team match. Peyton Manning, a man who just like Andrew Luck, inherited one of the worst teams in the league before his arrival.
Actually, the Colts were the worst team that year. And to note, Peyton’s rookie year in the National Football League was Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback John Elway’s final year. If you know your football history, the Broncos won that game.
With Elway walking off into the sunset as a now two time Super Bowl champion, it was time for Manning’s legacy to begin. Over Peyton’s 15 year career, he’s thrown for over 3,700 yards and 25 plus touchdowns a season. He’s only hit 20 plus interceptions twice in his career, his lowest being nine, the year Manning won his very first Super Bowl.
Yeah, it was against my Chicago Bears. Anyways, he’s easily become my favorite quarterback to watch. The way he’s able to read defenses and adjusting the play in hopes of positive yardage. Watching him scratch and claw when his teams were down, leading his team to victory.
The man has a career 64,964 passing yards, 491 touchdown passes and 219 interceptions. As of right now, Manning is second behind Brett Favre in career passing yards and touchdowns. All he needs to do is play at least a couple more seasons to throw for 6, 874 to pass up Favre on the list.
When Manning went down with that severe neck injury, I was worried. The game wasn’t quite the same with him sitting on the sidelines and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering if we’d ever see him take the field as an active player ever again.
But the gun slinging veteran wasn’t going to allow a neck injury stop him from doing what he loved to do best. When I heard that he was coming back, but not with the Indianapolis Colts, it was a little weird.
Not watching number 18 lead the boys in Blue and White down the field like I was used to seeing while I was growing up. But he found himself a good home in Denver and as we all know, he’s doing quite well.
The sad thing about all this, is that Manning is going to call it quits just like Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, Ronde Barber, Brian Urlacher and Jeff Saturday have recently done. I know it’s been a year for a couple guys, but it’s still a bit depressing.
Peyton is a 13 time Pro Bowler, with his first ever selection coming back in 1999. Since then he made the squad in 2000, 2002-2010, 2012-2013. He’s a four time MVP, NFL passing touchdown leader (including this year obviously) and shattered every quarterback stat for the Indianapolis Colts.
And then you have Champ Bailey. A man with 52 career interceptions, ranks 26th with guys like Jimmy Patton, Bobby Dillon, Jack Butler, Mel Renfro and Larry Wilson. A veteran corner who has always been a leader on and off the field with the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.
It’s weird knowing that he was with the Skins over a decade ago. It’s crazy how time flies. Anyways, Bailey is going into the Super Bowl with 790 career tackles, 82 assists, only three sacks but once again, 52 interceptions.
This year was an off year for Bailey as he was sidelined with an injury for a good chunk of the season. He was held to only 14 tackles, the lowest total he’s had in over 12 years. Champ is one of the most respected players in the league besides Peyton Manning.
He’s looked up to by almost every defensive back who’s hoping to be one of the greatest shut down corners in NFL history. One guy who we’ll be getting to soon will be in this conversation in the future. A 12 time Pro Bowler in his career, making it from 2000-2007, 2009-2012.
The 35 year old veteran holds the most Pro Bowl appearances by a corner back and is the youngest player to intercept three passes in a game. He was selected as a two time NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year and was even named to the NFL’s 2000 All-Decade team, just like his starting quarterback.
These two legends of the game will attempt to add another chapter to their legendary career’s by winning that beautiful Vince Lombardi trophy. But first, they’ll have to take on their toughest challenge yet and two future stars of this league.