NEW YORK – Peyton Manning, who could become the first starting quarterback to win Super Bowls with two different teams, isn’t ready to write the final word on his gridiron legacy just yet.
The 37-year-old Denver Broncos star, who rewrote the National Football League record book this season, will try to claim his second crown Sunday when his club takes on the Seattle Seahawks.
“I’ve been asked about my legacy since I was 25,” Manning said.
“I’m not sure you can have a legacy when you are 25 or even 37. I thought you had to be 70 to have a legacy. I’m not 100 percent sure what the word even means.
“I’m down the homestretch of my career, but I’m still in it. It’s not over yet. It’s still playing out. This has been the second chapter of my career and it is an exciting chapter. I’m certainly excited to be back in the Super Bowl.”
Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to victory over Chicago in the 2007 Super Bowl but lost in 2010 against New Orleans when a late-game interception return for a touchdown doomed his repeat dream.
“It’s equally disappointing not to win as it is gratifying to win it,” Manning said.
The Colts released Manning after he had four neck operations and the star passer joined the Broncos, helping keep the spark in his game with new challenges.
“If you ever stop learning, that’s when you’re in trouble,” Manning said. “I’ve learned a lot these past two years that has helped me stay stimulated and stay excited about the game of football.”
This season, Manning threw for an NFL one-season passing record 5,477 yards and a record 55 passing touchdowns for a Denver attack that scored an NFL record 606 points.
Manning is the only player in Sunday’s game to have ever won a Super Bowl and among only a handful — all on the Broncos — who have even played in the championship spectacle.
Manning’s younger brother Eli, who is quarterback for the New York Giants, has won two Super Bowl titles. He says Peyton is just hitting his stride.
“Peyton has already cemented his legacy,” Eli Manning said. “At 37, having the greatest year of his career is pretty impressive.
“He has played at an extrenmely high level for a long period of time. It has been pretty incredible to watch. I don’t think he’s done. I hope he’s not done.”
Retirement is not on the elder Manning’s mind.
“I feel a little bit better than I thought I would coming off that surgery a couple of years ago,” Manning said. “I feel better physically. I’ve been rejuvenated playing under a different offense, playing with new receivers because it keeps me stimulated every day. So I certainly would like to keep playing.”
One thing Manning has done with Denver is make those around him better by showing them the clues he uses to know the defensive schemes used against him.
“I never knew you could look at a linebacker or defensive end and know what coverage it’s going to be,” said Denver receiver Knowshon Moreno.
“To come back from major surgery like he did at 37, it’s hard to beat him. In practice, you still see him getting better. He’s a lot stronger this year. He can keep playing a lot of years.
“It’s amazing some of the things he can do.”
Winning a second Super Bowl with a second club would be something no one else has ever done.
“It would be a tremendous accomplishment for the organization,” said Manning, whose club has not won since current Broncos executive John Elway led the team to 1998 and 1999 Super Bowl wins.
“I know how hard it is to get here. To win it would be an extremely gratifying feeling. There’s a ton of hard work and sacrifice that goes in just to get into this game. To win it would be very special.” – Rappler.com
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