How will posterity remember Peyton?
First of all, despite all the hate for Tom Brady, from fans and media, I believe this man will get his due on the day of retirement by even his most jadded critics and be regarded as the best of all time..
But what about Peyton?
Peyton was always the quarterback everyone wanted to succeed.
In fact, I have never seen an NFL player whose media-legacy and on-the-field play have such a wide disconnect from one another.
Peyton just gets lavished with rose peddles each and every season.
This year he moved to a "more complete team" than both Brady and Rodgers were on, and put up inferior statistics than both quarterbacks, yet was discussed for the last 8 weeks of football as the obvious MVP winner.
I mean, every time the media talks about him they turn into North Korea.
Peyton became the quarterback with the most all time QB losses in post season history (ironically, on the same weekend Brady separated himself from Montana with 17 wins) against Baltimore. He now also has the `record` for most first round eliminations with 8.
Think about this.
In the 2000's the AFC South was trash. It was Peyton Manning and a bunch of crappy expansion teams (Texans, Jags, Titans). Mark Sanchez could get to the first round of the post season in this division. And now the AFC West.
Say what you want about the AFC East but Miami was a post-season team during our Dynasty, the Jets are a strong defense and went to two back to back AFCCG's, and its a mute point anyway because the Pats win in the post-season.
Peyton has basically been in a situation his entire career where it would be impossible NOT to make the play offs, then once there he was immediately kicked out of them in his first game.
Peyton is a true system quarterback. He even brought his one system with him from Indy to Denver. Once he faces good teams, he gets shut down, then he clams up, then he tosses interceptions. Even his one Superbowl year came with a post season performance of 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In other words, his defense carried him. The Patriots stripped their offense down to the bare-bones in 2006 before the '07 reload, and still barely lost the AFC Championship game in Indianapolis, allowing Peyton to proceed.
I say when it's all said and done, all this "GOAT" talk of Manning fades with his retirement and he goes down in history as somewhere on the bottom of a top ten all time list, and nowhere near the top of it.