Last night’s Super Bowl was one of the worst of all time. Unless of course you are a Patriots fan, because I had the time of my life watching that domination last night. The Broncos got flat out destroyed, and a big reason was because Peyton Manning did exactly what he has done throughout his career in big games. He shrinks in the big moments, and as great as he is in the regular season, he turns into an average quarterback in the playoffs.
With a win last night, Manning had a chance to join the the likes of Joe Montana, John Elway, and Tom Brady, on the Mount Rushmore of great NFL quarterbacks. I think it is a given that Peyton is the best regular season quarterback of all time, but he always finds a way to lose come playoff time. However winning a second Super Bowl probably would have been enough to slide into the top five, especially considering how tough his opponent was. But he didn’t win. He didn’t even play bad. He played downright awful. When he needed to make a play, he threw a pick. When he had to get his team back in the game, he threw a game ending pick six. Denver’s record breaking offense was completely shut down, and a large part of that is because Manning just didn’t show up. The great ones at least keep their team in the big game.
Tom Brady has lost the last two Super Bowls he has played in. But his performance was good enough to win both games. Yes, he definitely could have played better, but he gave his team a chance to win, and if it weren’t for a few bad luck plays, Brady might have five rings right now. Peyton didn’t do that though. He played a horrible football game, and really lost the contest as soon as he let that opening snap fly past his head, and into the end zone. Brady wouldn’t have done that, and Montana wouldn’t have either. That is why Peyton will always be remembered as a great regular season quarterback, but a choker in the playoffs. When the pressure is off, Manning is your guy. But as soon as the stakes are raised, Peyton’s eyes get as big as his forehead, and he loses. That is how he will always be remembered after last night’s pathetic performance.
If you can’t remember any other notable Peyton postseason fails, here is a quick reminder:
2003 vs. NE: Four intercpetions
2004 vs. NE: One pick, scored only three points
2009 vs. NO: Game ending pick six
2012 vs. BAL: Interception in overtime