“Brady didn’t play a snap his freshman year in high school even though his team was 0-8 and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. He had to send out tapes to get colleges interested. Manning was overwhelmed by scholarship offers. They have taken different paths but wound up in the same place as two of the all-time greats.”
— Gary Myers, author of Brady vs. Manning
In sports, very few things change. Stats don’t move. They may lie or deceive, but once a season or a career is over, they’re set in stone. The same is true for championships. Once you win one, it’s yours, regardless of what you do the rest of your career.
The only thing that is truly malleable is the narrative.
It appears that one of the greatest sports careers in history is finally over. After an atrocious day with four interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating (and a torn plantar fascia), Peyton Manning was benched yesterday. Whether he plays again this season or not, it’s clear that age, injuries, and the punishing nature of the sport he plays have finally caught up with him.
Aside from Terrell Owens for a season-and-a-half, Peyton Manning is the closest thing I’ve had to a favorite football player since I was about 10 years old (ironically, it was John Elway). Just like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, it was a pleasure to watch Manning ply his craft with virtual perfection. Talk about Tom Brady and playoff chokes and ringzzzz all you want, but we all know how great Peyton has been.
And he was almost as good off the field. One of the most prolific pitchmen of this era, he made a ton of commercials. Like his game, the best ones happened a few years ago. Here are his five best.