No QB has Manning's playoff experience, heartbreak
Denver (AP) — No quarterback has been to the playoffs more than Peyton Manning or experienced more heartache there, either.
Only once in his previous dozen trips to the postseason party has
Manning put his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy.
His 9-11 postseason record stands in stark contrast to his 167-73
regular season mark and includes eight first-round exits, none more
scarring than last year's AFC Divisional round-home loss to Baltimore
as the AFC's top seed.
He also lost his first playoff game in Indianapolis as the No. 1 seed
after the 2005 season, then bounced back to win it all the next year.
Since then, he's won just two of seven playoff games and lost his last
The meticulous quarterback renowned for his unrivaled work ethic and
painstaking preparation doesn't believe that's because he grinds too
much in January.
"I really don't believe so," Manning said as he prepared for Sunday's
showdown between his Denver Broncos (13-3) and the San Diego Chargers
(10-7). "I know people — it's easy to summarize, to take a whole bunch
of football seasons and lump them together. I personally don't believe
in that theory.
"I think each season takes on its own identity and different things
occurred along the way at different points of my career. This is the
2013 season, 2014 postseason, and it's its own chapter. We're looking
forward to hopefully writing it for a number of more weeks."
Manning set a slew of records this season, including 55 TD passes and
5,447 yards through the air as the Broncos became the highest-scoring
team of the Super Bowl era. Five players scored 10 or more touchdowns.
No team in history had ever had more than three players accomplish that
Yet for all his records and all his greatness, Manning's fault-finders
point to his cold-weather record — it's 4-7 in sub-freezing
temperatures at kickoff — and his playoff pratfalls — his 11 losses are
tied with Brett Favre for most in NFL history — to suggest he won't cap
it all off with a championship in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a
cold-weather city next month.
Here's the thing about the cold: In many of those games, Manning had
the lesser team. That's why he was on the road. And sometimes, he only
played a series or two because his team had already clinched its
playoff slot, but the loss went next to his name nonetheless.
And in the playoffs, you could point the finger at his supporting cast
as much as you could at him, if not more.
If Rahim Moore doesn't make one of the biggest blunders in playoff
history last year, Manning would be hailed for his fourth-quarter
touchdown toss to beat the Ravens and not lambasted for his
interception in overtime. And maybe now he'd be trying to defend a
Super Bowl title instead of seeking atonement.
That scarring defeat has driven Manning for 365 days.
So doggedly determined to rectify that disappointment, Manning at times
this season seemed in a hurry just to get back here. The regular season
took on an air of being 20 preseason games with the real opener coming
Yet, all week, he was relaxed, embracing the pressure of this time of
"If it's just miserable this whole time, then why are you really doing
it? I mean, there are other things you can do that might make you feel
less miserable than if it's just an absolute grind," Manning said. "And
maybe, as you get older, you think more in those lines, that, 'Hey,
this is a pretty unique opportunity to be in this position, to be one
of just a few teams playing.'"
Manning is coming off his best statistical season at age 37, just two
years removed from the neck surgeries that weakened his throwing arm
but strengthened his resolve.
Yet, no matter how many more years he has left, he knows he won't get
many more chances. And so, he's embracing this latest trip to the
playoffs and enjoying the journey, relishing his chance to chase
redemption and another ring.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere on Sunday, playing a good football
team, and there is nothing else I would rather be doing," Manning said.
"And so that is certainly my goal to enjoy the preparation, not just
the game, to actually enjoy the preparation part of it, enjoy being
around the guys.
"Because certainly, the light is at the end of the tunnel for me, no
question. And so, I think you enjoy these things maybe even more."
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Manning More Experience In Playoffs
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