Peyton Manning: The Greatest Loser?

Would a loss in Super Bowl 50 hurt Peyton Manning’s legacy more than a win would help it?

Photo by Kathy Drasky, courtesy of creativecommons.org. No changes made.

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On Sunday, former Tennessee Volunteer quarterback Peyton Manning will play in his fourth Super Bowl. With a win against the Carolina Panthers, many believe that Manning will be known as the greatest quarterback of all time. But what happens if he loses?

Sure, Manning has a long list of records next to his name, such as:

  • Most TD passes in a season (55)
  • Most TD passes in NFL history (539)
  • Most passing yards in a season (5,477)
  • Most passing yards in NFL history (71,940)
  • T-most regular season wins in NFL history (186)
  • Most NFL MVP awards (5)

Even so, Peyton Manning holds, perhaps, a record of higher importance: 13-13 in his 26 career playoff starts. While words such as mediocre, average, and ordinary are not often associated with “The Sheriff,” it is hard to find more applicable expressions when it comes to Manning’s postseason performance.

In 14 seasons where Peyton Manning’s teams made the playoffs, nine times they were eliminated without advancing a single game. In his three Super Bowl appearances, Manning has been crowned the victor only once. So would losing what is likely his last game in Super Bowl 50 hurt his legacy more than winning the game would help?

If Peyton Manning wins on Sunday, his playoff record improves to 14-13 with 2 Super Bowl victories. A loss, on the other hand leaves him with a losing record in the postseason and 1-for-4 in Super Bowl tries.

Amidst the hype surrounding the Super Bowl and Peyton Manning’s final stand is a report from Al Jazeera implying that Manning took HGH—or human growth hormones—to help heal from his neck surgery in 2011. The reporter who initially alleged Manning was tied to HGH use, Charlie Sly, completely recanted his statement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, said that Sly’s report “involved allegations that we (the NFL) take very seriously,” so Manning is currently under investigation by the league. Manning claims that the NFL will find “a big fat nothing” in regards to a connection with HGH, but has remained highly cooperative in the league’s investigation, according to Roger Goodell.

If Peyton Manning is found to be linked to HGH use, however, awards could be stripped and records may one day be found with an asterisk next to them.

Even if “The Sheriff” is found innocent by the NFL, a loss Sunday could tarnish his legacy and leave a sour taste in his mouth. A final victory, on the other hand, will allow Peyton to saddle up for one final time and ride off into the sunset.

Featured image by Kathy Drasky

Edited by Nathan Odom