September 6th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Peyton Manning doesn’t look like a Quarterback. Not like Brady does. Or Favre did. Hell, he doesn’t even look like an athlete. Just watch at him run: The narrow shoulders shrugged over the the extra long torso. And those legs; they appear to be operating on a different set of signals from the rest of his body. You know he’s a terrible dancer. Not only does he not look like a Quarterback; he doesn’t sound like a Quarterback. It’s a voice and tone you’d expect more from a local John Deere distributer than an NFL signal caller. The nodding, the pressed lip agreeable expression framing that good ol’ Southern drawl. “Well, you certainly will get the job done with this John Deere Zero-Turn mower, but sounds like with the size of your yard, you might be able to get away with this D120 model. So, um … Green zero, zero; Check. Check. D120. D120. Hurry. Hurry. Hut!” Doesn’t look like a Quarterback; doesn’t sound like a Quarterback. He doesn’t even throw like a Quarterback. He throws an ugly ball. Check the tape.
Last night, in the 2013 season opener, Manning threw for 462, seven TDs, zero picks. Just silly numbers. If not natural born abilities, what makes him so prolific? Work? Yeah, I believe his work ethic has much more to do with his success than his natural gifts. The drive to be great? Maybe. I think even more than these it is his willingness to press into a journey wrought with so many failures. It’s courage.
Everyone talks about what Denver safety Moore failed to do last season. Moore’s misplay on the 70 yard bomb to Jacoby Jones in the waning seconds of last season’s Divisional Championship game gave life to the “All but dead” Ravens. That play overshadowed Denver’s last offensive play of the season: A Peyton Manning interception to Corey Graham in overtime to set up Tucker’s game winning field goal. A crushing failure for a guy who had fought so hard to get back on the field. And not his first either. Manning has a losing record in the playoffs, 9-11. Last year like seven other losses was of the “one and done” variety. No one would blame the man if he decided he’d had enough. The road too perilous. But he was back last night, on the same field, against the same opponent, less than a year removed from one of his greatest failures. Manning up.
It is what makes Manning great. The photo above could have been taken in your backyard. “Honey, that goofy, freakishly tall neighbor with the Southern drawl just got here. What was his name again?” That’s Peyton Manning. You might not know it by looking at him, but he is one of the greatest Quarterbacks of all time.