Manning already has assured his place in history

    He already is one of the greatest players in NFL history. That somehow a win in Super Bowl XVLIII is needed to cement the legacy of Peyton Manning is, well, foolish.
    All you have to do is take the before and after pictures of the two franchises that Manning has quarterbacked to the Super Bowl.
    In the previous six years before Peyton, the Denver Broncos won a total of 44 games and lost 52. The Broncos finished 17th, 21st, 16th, 20th, 19th and 25th in the NFL in total offense. Since Manning arrived, the Broncos were second in total offense in 2012 and first in 2013.
    Before Peyton, the Broncos’ starters were Brian Griese, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. The inability to find a replacement for John Elway cost head coach Mike Shanahan his job in Denver.
    So, when Elway grabbed the reins of the Broncos, he knew his No. 1 job was to convince Manning to join him. Peyton gives former Panthers coach John Fox a chance to return the Super Bowl and win. He’s the reason Wes Welker left the Patriots for the Broncos. Manning made wide receiver Eric Decker a fantasy star.
    He’s the only guy who could, at a press conference, get away with endorsing another beer in Coors country.
    In Indianapolis, the Colts went 2-14 in 2011 when Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury. The Saints ripped the Colts, 62-7.
    In Year One in the NFL, Manning and the Colts were 3-13. They then ripped off an incredible stretch of winning. For seven consecutive years, the Colts won at least 12 games.
    Peyton was so good, he made Jim Mora’s coaching return to the NFL a successful one. Peyton made Tony Dungy a Super Bowl-winning coach.
    Because Peyton had his golden hands underneath center Jeff Saturday’s backside, Saturday landed a gig on network television.
    The Colts won so much, and demand for tickets was so high, the club built a new state-of-the-art domed stadium. Lucas Oil Stadium was truly the house that Manning built.
    Manning is the Shaquille O’Neal of NFL players. Shaq won NBA titles in two different locales, Los Angeles and Miami. He led Orlando to the NBA finals.
    This week, Manning will have more fans in New Orleans than he ever dreamed. Moments after Seattle beat San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman dissed Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree in a live post-game interview on national TV.
    “Classless!” said many Saints fans on Facebook.
    “Go Peyton!” said another.
    In New Orleans, some of the same people who don’t like the Mannings because neither Peyton nor Eli went to LSU are lining up behind their new hometown hero. He can do something the Saints didn’t – beat Seattle.
    In the meantime, the only four-time MVP in NFL history is close to another milestone. Manning would be the first starting quarterback in Super Bowl history to lead two different teams to a championship.
    And, if he somehow doesn’t beat Seattle, his place in the history of the league is secure. Where Peyton goes, winning follows.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
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