In a recent radio interview with Baltimore's 105.7 the FAN, CBS' Bart Scott said that Denver Broncos quarterback, and reigning league MVP, Peyton Manning, "played scared" vs the Seattle Seahawks in week 3. Scott straight up questioned Manning's toughness.
He's dead wrong. And anyone who agrees with Scott is dead wrong. Ask the Legion of Boom how scared Manning looked when he drove the Broncos 80 yards for a touchdown and then proceeded to convert the 2-point conversion, at the expense of Richard Sherman, to tie the game and send it to overtime. Broncos Country says, "don't make me laugh".
We're talking about a quarterback who endured 4 surgeries on his neck. And at one point, couldn't even throw a football more than 5 yards. And yet, he somehow found a way to overcome that pain and uncertainty to come back and take his second NFL franchise, namely the Broncos, to the Super Bowl, and win his league record 5th MVP. That takes guts. That takes courage.
We're talking about a guy who knew he wasn't 100%, and if you ask him now, he still doesn't feel like he's all the way back, and yet, he had the stones to suit up and expose himself to the relentless pursuit of NFL defenses and edge rushers. Knowing he wasn't 100%, he was still willing to paint a target on his back, put a team on his shoulders and go out and play football. And he's done it with gusto.
It's no small thing to throw for 55 touchdowns in a single season. That's a record that will stand for a long time. It's no small thing to overcome a 24-0 deficit and storm back in the 2nd half and put up 35 unanswered points, to secure the victory on Monday Night Football, like he did against the San Diego Chargers, on the road, in 2012.
How about 2013? After sustaining several hits to his ankles vs the Chargers in week 10 , which caused a high ankle sprain, Manning was unwilling to leave the field at the end of the 4th quarter, as the Broncos attempted to kill the clock and grind out the win. There was less than two minutes to go. He was in immense pain. But the game was on the line. Yeah, that's weak, right?
Scott claims that Manning is unwilling to stand tall in the pocket and be willing to take the hit in order to complete a pass. Was he not watching in week 3? There were several plays where Manning had to hold on to the ball long enough for his routes to develop, stand tall, and make the throw, knowing that he was going to get trucked. Scott says that the difference between Manning and Phillip Rivers is that Rivers doesn't play scared and he's willing to take that hit. Give me a break.
It's nothing less than trolling. Let's call a spade a spade. This guy gets paid to know what he's talking about, as it pertains to the NFL. Look, people think that the book on Manning is that if you pressure him, it'll lead to errant throws and mistakes. Guess what? That just described every single quarterback who's ever played the game.
Let's face it, there's no question that Manning isn't the most mobile signal caller in the league. But he more than makes up for it with his arm, savvy and football intelligence. Manning might not be able to outrun you. But he will out-think you. And Bart Scott knows it.
The Broncos got trounced by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. There's no getting around it. That loss was not only on the shoulders of Manning, but on the entire Denver Broncos organization. To say that Manning "played scared" or that he lacks courage, is to discredit oneself utterly. Again, I say, ask the Legion of Boom if Manning played scared, as he engineered a 80-yard drive with surgical precision, to tie the game, in their house, and send it to overtime. Had the Broncos won that coin toss, the Broncos would have likely scored. They had all of the momentum. And then the storyline would be how resilient and how tough Manning is. Ironic, is it not?