Ride Cowboy Ride
'This is where the cowboy rides away'-George Straight, 1984; the theme song for Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. We have arrived at Peyton Manning's last ride. He hasn't confirmed it, but the handwriting is on the wall. Father time is bringing his time in the limelight to a close. One final curtain call on the biggest stage: Super Bowl 50.
Don't start the 'what will his legacy be if he wins or loses'. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest of all time! Period. No ifs, ands or buts. He is a Super Bowl Champion. He has 4 AFC titles. A five-time NFL MVP, the most career TD passes, the most touchdown passes in a season (55) and most career wins as starting quarter back.
Football is a team game win or lose. We tend to forget that when we compare quarterbacks. Super Bowl records tend to be the barometer we only point to. As if the two SB losses hurt Peyton's legacy. Ridiculous.
That means Jeff Hostetler, Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer were greater because they never lost a SB with equal wins. Losing earlier in the playoffs or not making them at all is better? This is the same notion that Bradshaw and Montana are better than Brady, because he lost two SB's with the same amount of wins. Peyton Manning has made the playoffs in 15 of the 17 seasons he has played. THAT is the record to hang your hat on.
Only one team can bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy home each year. The knuckle-heads that think only championships give you rank, don't appreciate what it takes just to get there. When there are 22 starters and 53 players on a team, it takes a special group each year just to make the playoffs. Winning it all calls for a perfect storm. That's what makes Tom Brady's story almost impossible.
Remember the '85 Bears, '99 Rams, '00 Ravens and even the '13 Seahawks? All were perceived as dominant, and all just grabbed one title. It ain't easy. Dan Marino, Dan Fouts and Jim Kelly NEVER won one. If they aren't some of the greatest ever, I'll kiss your ass. So, just stop it with the nonsense about who is the best and why.
This Sunday should be about praising a legend, and rooting him on one last time. His whole career seems to be that of an underdog all the way back to his days of Tennessee. Though a great career, he never had the supporting cast to take down his rival Florida. Brady and Belichek seem to have always had a better defense than those Colts teams. In 2013 the Broncos gave him a good defense, and this year's could be labeled great if they deliver one more dominating performance.
If you decide to take cheap shots at an all-time legend, because his team may be running into a Carolina buzzsaw, then so be it. He's almost 40 fighting off this year's MVP in his prime. But, don't count him out. He may still have just enough to push the sun up into the sky one last time, and keep it from setting on his final ride.
P.S. A word to the wise Mr. Newton: Grab your title now, because you never know when you'll be back. If ever.