One year ago today, media pundits, analysts and scouts speculated on the demise of one Tom Brady. He was done. He was scared. He was weak. It was time for him to retire—time for the New England Patriots to move on.
The Patriots had just come off a crushing 41-14 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs and all of the talk was warranted. Brady did look scared, he did look weak, but most importantly he didn't look like himself. At the time, the Patriots were 2-2 and the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl, would take a fairy tale to win.
In the 15 regular season games since that Monday night, Brady has completed 67 percent of his passes, thrown for 4,430 yards and has tossed 38 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. And that doesn't include his impressive Super Bowl run. A strong argument can be made that at 38 years old, Tom Brady has been the best QB in football for the past 365 days.
What does this mean for Peyton Manning? Manning, for the first time in his career, is working within an offense that is not completely his own. He is playing behind undoubtedly the worst offensive line he has ever had. He is also 39 years old.
After the first three games of the 2015 season, the narrative has changed. The Broncos don't need Manning to win. This team belongs to the defense. Manning is scared. Manning is weak. It's time for him to retire.
This has all been said by the media and fans alike, something I can attest to, as I have been one of Manning's biggest critics over the past year. It is debated daily whether Manning can be good enough for the Broncos to win a Super Bowl. The question being, can he manage the game?
I don't buy into that. I don't think this team belongs to the defense. I don't think Manning is done—not yet.
Manning's time in Denver is comparable to my favorite movie trilogy—the Christopher Nolan Batman series. Manning's first act in Denver was building himself into a different quarterback than he was before; Batman Begins.
Manning followed that up with back to back record breaking seasons, he became a beloved member of the community, but failed in the Super Bowl, becoming the subject of blame; The Dark Knight.
This brings us to 2015. The Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs with an injured Manning, who became the subject of retirement speculation. After taking time away, Manning decided to return to the team to help win a Super Bowl, rebuilding his body after breaking it; The Dark Knight Rises.
And more specifically, the first act of The Dark Knight Rises.
Manning's story is not yet completed. Whether or not he can complete his 'rise' remains to be seen, but something tells me his return to the Manning of old is inevitable and it will come when the team needs him most.
To be continued...
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