With the Broncos P.R. department trumpeting the unprecedented achievement of quarterback Peyton Manning during the team’s last four games, it’s easy to get caught up in the notion that Peyton is back.
One man isn’t buying it.
“I don’t agree with that,” Manning tells Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “I feel like I’m a different player, in different circumstances. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body – what I can and can’t do. Somebody asked me if I was doing the same things I did in 2004. I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?’ That was a different team, and we were on a crazy level. There’s no comparison.”
But it’s not about comparing teams. It’s about whether Peyton has returned to being a dominant quarterback. The numbers say he is. His teammates say it, too, via specific examples of the things he does.
Receiver Demaryius Thomas tells Silver that Manning recently installed a play during practice that included a fade-out route cornerback Champ Bailey described as “unstoppable.” Manning installed another play that the Saints couldn’t handle — during last night’s game.
And so the point is that Peyton isn’t playing at this level because he has the arm strength of his younger days, but because he still has enough in his body and he has more than ever in his mind.
The combination could be enough to help Manning do what he only has ever done once before in his career: Win a Super Bowl.
Of course, to get to the top of the mountain he may have to get through his younger brother. And Broncos-Giants would be the most compelling Super Bowl ever.