On Monday, an NFL era will come to an end as quarterback Peyton Manning will officially announce his retirement after 18 seasons in the league. Having spent his career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, there have been so many great games and moments that it is extremely difficult to limit it to just a few. Still, it is worth a shot and here are the five best games from the iconic career of Peyton Manning.
On Sunday morning, the confirmation finally came that Manning would be stepping away from the game he has played for almost two decades.
Peyton Manning will announce his retirement during a press conference Monday at Broncos headquarters, per @mortreport.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2016
USA Today had a statement from John Elway, another Broncos great and the general manager of the team. He spoke on the career of Peyton Manning and the type of player he is and has been during his career, which will certainly end with a trip to the Hall of Fame.
“When you look at everything Peyton has accomplished as a player and person, it’s easy to see how fortunate we’ve been to have him on our team. Peyton was everything that we thought he was and even more — not only for the football team but in the community. I’m very thankful Peyton chose to play for the Denver Broncos, and I congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
That being said, Manning’s career is one that has included two Super Bowl championships, one Super Bowl MVP, five NFL MVP awards, 14 trips to the Pro Bowl, and countless records. Still, there have been numerous games and moments that will withstand the test of time.
The Perfect Game – Jan. 4, 2004
Peyton Manning had done a lot in his young career up to this point, but this was the topper. He earned his first ever playoff victory in a game against his future team, the Denver Broncos, and it was perfection. On that night, he completed 22-of-26 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns which led to a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
AFC Championship – Jan. 21, 2007
Down 21-3 at halftime to the New England Patriots and Manning’s arch-nemesis Tom Brady, everyone thought it was over. In the second half, Manning brought the Colts back to tie the game at 21, and then had three more comebacks to eventually win the game 38-34.
It happened to be the largest comeback in the history of the AFC Championship.
Taking the TD Record from Brett Favre – Oct. 19, 2014
There are a lot of records that Peyton Manning currently holds in the NFL, but the one he captured late in 2014 is one that may never be taken from him. In that game, he had an eight-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas that allowed him to take over the all-time passing touchdown record from Brett Favre with 509.
He finished his career with 539, and honestly, it will be a stretch for someone to catch him even though those such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees have a shot.
Revenge on the Baltimore Ravens – Sept. 5, 2013
The year before, the Denver Broncos had been ousted early from the playoffs by the Ravens and it was time for revenge. Peyton Manning led his team to a 49-27 season-opening thrashing of the birds and he did it in very impressive fashion.
Manning finished the day with 462 passing yards and a whopping seven touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 141.1 on the day. He also had a 64.3 pass completion rating and averaged 11-yards-per pass attempt in what just amounted to an absolute thrashing.
One-upping his father, Archie Manning – Sept. 28, 2003
A native of New Orleans, Peyton Manning didn’t ever play for his hometown New Orleans Saints as his father Archie did for many years. Still, he did play against them often and never took it easy on them either.
In this particular game, Manning and the Colts dominated the Saints in a 55-21 victory on Sunday Night Football. Manning’s performance was absolutely insane as he had another perfect passer rating of 158.3 while completing 80 percent of his passes for 12.56 yards per attempt. On top of that, he had 314 yards through the air and six touchdowns…three of which went to Marvin Harrison.
Picking five of the greatest games of Peytong Manning’s career as he is set to retire from the NFL on Monday is no easy task. He has 18 years of games to choose from, and there are countless great games and amazing moments, but it truly is a shame that there will be no more added to the list.
[Image via Patrick Smith/Getty Images]