By: Ian Wixted
For this week’s Throwback Thursday we take a look at the career of Peyton Manning. One of, if not the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Peyton is finally hanging it up after 18 exciting years. Just like the man that brought him to the Broncos, John Elway, Manning left the game while he was on-top, winning Super Bowl 50. Peyton has had a career filled with moments that the fans will never forget. Here we take a look back and rank Peyton Manning’s Biggest Moments!
Number 10. Being Drafted #1 Overall (1998 Draft)
Coming off one of the greatest Heisman Trophy classes of all-time, the 1998 NFL Draft was filled with soon-to-be superstars and one big bust. With the first pick overall, The Indianapolis Colts passed by Heisman Winner Charles Woodson and selected a quarterback from the University of Tennessee. Peyton went 3-13 in his rookie year, but he would soon show Colts’ fans and the world why Jim Irsay thought so highly of him.
Number 9. SNL Host
After winning his first Super Bowl, Peyton Manning was on top of the sports world, so he wanted to flex his muscles in another form of entertainment. On March 24, 2007, Peyton was tapped to be the host of Saturday Night Live, and he did not disappoint. This might of been Peyton Manning’s first time acting, but it sure wouldn’t be the last, as he’s given us some memorable commercials since.
Number 8. Interviewed by Ron Burgundy
If there is one way to tell if you made it as a sports icon, it’s when you get interviewed by the famous San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy. This was a hilarious interview between Peyton Manning and Will Ferrell, and showed that Peyton’s acting skills weren’t just a one time fluke.
Number 7. Passing Brett Favre (10/19/2014)
Records are meant to be broken, and that’s what happened on October 19th, 2014. Brett Farve’s All Time Touchdown record was in serious danger ever since Manning entered the league, the way he used to sling the ball it was only a matter of time until he was top dog. 509 when he broke the record and was able to add on to that total before he called it quits. Time will tell if anyone will be able to top Peyton’s record.
Number 6. Monday Night Comeback (10/6/2003)
To Peyton Manning comebacks are the norm. Teams would hold their breath if they had the lead late but if Manning had the ball last. You knew that with just a little time left on the clock, Peyton could drive his team to a score anywhere on the field. But this was a comeback that Peyton and the rest of the NFL wouldn’t forget. Being down 35-14 to the defending champion Tampa Bay Bucs, and with only four minutes left on the clock, Manning did the unthinkable and brought his team to victory scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter.
Number 5. First Playoff Victory (1/4/2004)
The playoffs were always a problem that Peyton couldn’t solve, but he finally exorcised his demons on January 4th, 2004 in a big way! For his first playoff win, Peyton was perfect! He finished the game with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, passing for 377 yards and putting up 5 TDs against the Denver Broncos. Perfection is something we all strive for, and on this night, Peyton achieved just that.
Number 4. 55 Touchdowns (12/22/2003)
When Peyton threw for 48 TDs and broke Dan Marino’s single-season record, we all thought no one would touch that. But then Peyton’s arch-nemesis Tom Brady hooked up with Randy Moss and had a season for the ages throwing for an absurd 50 scores. After that, who would of thought breaking that record was possible, at least one man did. During the 2003 season, Peyton played out of his mind and totaled for 55 TDs when it was all said and done. Another record for Manning that will be hard to eclipse.
Number 3. Fifth MVP (2/1/14)
After the 2014 season, Peyton added another MVP to his trophy room. This made him the all-time leader with 5 MVP throughout his career. It averaged out to being that every two years for a decade, Peyton was at the top of the league and that’s pretty crazy. Plus he joins rare company of the 5 times club:
Number 2. Finally Beating Brady (1/21/2007)
This was the biggest rivalry in sports from the late 90s to 2016. Manning Vs. Brady. Two of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, every time these two would face each other, you knew not to leave the couch. Brady always had the upper hand against Manning, but on January 21st, 2007 during the AFC Title Game, Peyton finally beat his all-time rival and went on to win his first Super Bowl ring.
Number 1. Winning 2nd Super Bowl / Going Out on Top
Only Peyton Manning can come back from a bad season where he was benched to turning it around in the playoffs and riding off into the sunset as a Super Bowl Champion! Peyton’s last season in the NFL may have been a forgettable one, but retiring as a Champion is something that no one can take away. He ended his long 18 year career on the biggest stage with confetti dropping all around. A fitting ending to the story of Peyton Manning and it’s a fitting ending to this post.
Thank You Peyton Manning for 18 years of great football. Will you go down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history? That is a question to be answered at a later date, but you are definitely in the conversation. We wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do next, and we can only hope that it will be passing down your expertise to the next generation of NFL greats!