Sunday night's win in Super Bowl 50 was not Peyton Manning's greatest game in a football uniform. Manning, likely to retire after going out on top with the Denver Broncos' 24-10 Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers, was average. At best.
He couldn't push anything downfield (despite reports earlier in the week about his health) and he couldn't physically throw outside the numbers.
All told the Broncos managed just five first downs through the air and completed just one third-down conversion. (Say this out loud: "The 2015 Super Bowl champions went 1-for-14 on third down." High-scoring offenses!)
Peyton was a massive part of that. But what's really fascinating about Peyton's struggles are the comparison to another quarterback for the Broncos who struggled badly in a Super Bowl in his late 30's ... John Elway.
|Super Bowl Stats|
|Player (Year)||Att/Comp (%)||Yards||TD/INT||YPA||QB Rating|
|Peyton Manning (2015)||13/23 (56.5)||141||0/1||6.13||56.6|
|John Elway (1998)||12/22 (54.6)||123||0/1||5.59||51.9|
Elway, of course, is now Peyton's boss (or about to be his former boss) and rejiggered the Broncos' roster in order to take the load of off Peyton in the late stage of his career.
It's pretty wild how similar these games are though, because Elway wasn't about to retire. He would play one more season (winning a second Super Bowl) and then ride off into the sunset with his legacy firmly cemented despite not really being a huge factor in that first game from a passing standpoint. (Elway also rushed for a touchdown in that game as well.)
The same holds true for Peyton. We think about how bad he looked now, but give it a decade or two and we'll just see a guy with a pair of Super Bowl rings on his fingers.