Sunday night in a snowy Mile High Stadium was originally scheduled to be another classic Brady vs. Peyton match up.
It would’ve been the 17th meeting between the two legendary quarterbacks.
That wasn’t the case though. Instead, Tom Brady was on the field in uniform, while Peyton Manning, sidelined due to a torn plantar fascia, could only sit and watch with a boot on his injured right foot.
And while the 39-year-old quarterback watched his biggest challenger work the ball up and down the field, it was neither Brady nor Manning that got the final laugh this time around.
Sunday night Brock Osweiler got the last laugh.
It was Osweiler, not Manning, that forced the undefeated Patriots into overtime after trailing by two touchdowns, and then beat Brady and company on the first possession of the extra period to hand the Patriots their first loss of the season.
Osweiler 1, Brady 0.
With the win Osweiler did something in his first try that Manning has only been able to do five times in 16 tries, and that’s beat Brady. More impressively, the young quarterback defeated Brady in the snow, a weather that has always been on Brady’s side, being 12-0 in snowy games in his career.
And now having won two out of three games he’s started in Manning’s place this season, it is becoming more and more clear that Manning’s days are numbered in Denver, and Osweiler’s may be only just beginning.
Oswiler may not be the future of the franchise, but he is the present. As of today, he gives the Broncos a better chance of winning than Peyton does.
It’s been painful to watch Manning this year. Even highlights of the games he’s played in this season seem bleak.
I was fearful that Manning came back for this season. I didn’t think he should’ve.
And now that he has, sadly, his legacy is slightly starting to diminish.
You can’t take away his records or all the great things he did in his years with the Colts. Prior to this season, though, you could easily make the argument that Manning was the best regular season quarterback ever, and he was in the discussion for best quarterback of all time.
For a disclaimer, his record in the playoffs is what kept him from being the best QB in the league’s history, in my opinion.
But now after this season, I don’t think you can truly make the argument for either. Brady has fully replaced him in both discussions.
Peyton’s fall from grace has been rough.
It started in Super Bowl 48. The first snap of the game for Denver sailed over Manning’s head, and the Broncos scored just eight points in the entire game.
Since then he’s thrown 48 touchdowns and 32 interceptions over last two seasons, his worst touchdown to interception ratio since the beginning of his 17-year career. This year alone Manning has thrown just nine touchdowns while completing 17 passes to members of opposing teams’ defense.
In my opinion Manning is done; it’s time for him to hang up his cleats. We don’t need another Brett Favre who stays around too long.
However, people close to Manning have said that he wants to play again next year, even if it’s not for the Broncos. (a la Brett Favre 2.0)
One person that hasn’t had much opinion, or at least published opinion, on Peyton’s immediate future is Broncos General Manager John Elway, who obviously knows a thing or two about playing in the NFL.
Elway, possibly more than anyone else, should tell Peyton it’s time to retire.
Elway knows greatness. So he should know that Peyton has used up all of his.
It doesn’t matter if Manning is healthy or not at the end of the season, he shouldn’t play.
It doesn’t matter if he’s healthy next year, he shouldn’t play.
If Manning wants to stay around the game, let Elway or someone else hire him to be in the front office or be a coach on the field. He’s basically been a coach on the field his entire career anyways.
But his playing days are behind him.
It’s time to walk away, Peyton.