A few weeks after winning Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning, as many expected, has retired from the NFL. Manning won five MVP awards, holds passing records in just about everything and led two franchises to Super Bowl championships.
His four years in Denver? Not too shabby. The Broncos went 50-14, enjoyed two deep postseason runs and twice beat Tom Brady in the AFC Championship.
Just how successful was Manning’s Denver tenure, you ask?
“Hugely successful,” Denver’s 104.3 midday host Darren McKee said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Absolutely worth it. It was four years ago when John Elway pulled off the greatest get ever in free agency. It was unbelievable. Twitter was unbelievable here in Denver around that time with rumors. It was really, really fun. So this is the full circle of that. And with that is four AFC Championships, two appearances in the Super Bowl and a Super Bowl victory.”
Manning, a statistical machine throughout his career, had just two touchdowns in three postseason games this year, but he made plays when he had to and he made just enough of them.
“Despite the fact Manning himself was carried in the Super Bowl victory, he still is the leader and was a very very, very meaningful person on that team despite the fact that his skills had withered to the point where a lot of quarterbacks with the Broncos defense probably could have gotten that Super Bowl victory,” McKee said. “Never mind that, though the fact of the matter is, he was the one.”
In 2013, Manning set an NFL record with 55 touchdown passes. In 2015, he threw just nine touchdowns in 10 games. In the end, though, he morphed into what the Broncos needed: a steady game-manager who made safe throws and didn’t turn the ball over.
“It was really an amazing testament,” McKee said. “If you can put your trust in your team and you have a good enough team, you don’t have to carry the weight. Manning became that. When he first got here to Denver, everybody was watching Peyton. The Super Bowl against the Seahawks exemplified that. It wasn’t like this this time around. DeMarcus Ware was just as meaningful as a veteran leader as Peyton Manning on this particular Broncos team. But the memories of Peyton Manning here in Denver are outstanding. They have a Ring of Fame here in Denver. I have no doubt he’ll go into that and he’ll go down in history as the second-best Broncos quarterback of all time.”