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Peyton Manning's "legacy'' is intact.
Actually, I shouldn't even say that because I hate the word "legacy'' in the context of sports. I especially hate it when we're talking about an athlete who has won the Most Valuable Player trophy in his league more times than anyone in history, an athlete who may well retire with every passing record in the game. Except the record for interceptions which Brett Favre, whose record in Super Bowls is exactly the same as Manning's: 1-1, holds.
I'm writing this in the press box at the Super Bowl, where a writer who's actually been around longer than I am was discussing this very subject. "He's 9-9 in the playoffs,'' this gentleman remarked. To which I replied: "So what?''
Manning has always had receivers who are good to great. Why? In large part because he's forced them to be. He's dragged them to offseason workouts and made them work with him as one entity. Most of the time that works but sometimes those receivers are fallible -- as Reggie Wayne was Sunday when he ran a soft route on a ball that Tracy Porter intercepted and returned for a touchdown that clinched the Super Bowl for the Saints; and as Pierre Garcon was when he dropped a pass with the Colts holding a 10-0 lead. Without that drop, not at all Payton's fault, maybe it becomes 17-0, a much harder hole for New Orleans to climb out of.
Then there's the salary cap.
For years, the salaries commanded by Manning, Dwight Freeney, Wayne, Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison has forced the Colts to rely on great drafts to fill holes left by good players who left for more money. It's why Indy is always replacing players, especially on defense, and always breaking in rookies or other younger players. It sometimes means that Manning has to lead the Colts to touchdowns on every possession. "It was upsetting to have to settle for a field goal on the first drive,'' he said after the Super Bowl. That's the nut. Sometimes, especially when Drew Brees is his opposite number, he always needs seven points not three.
Now I'm stopping. I'm making a case I don't have to make. Manning's "legacy'' is secure. And let's stop talking about it.
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Posted by: st50taw | February 8, 2010 10:58 AM
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