Saturday, he’ll be the focal point as the Indianapolis Colts ratchet up their quest for a second Lombardi Trophy in the past four years. The Baltimore Ravens are in town for an AFC divisional round clash, and a sellout crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium and prime-time audience will lean forward, eager to see if Manning and his teammates are up to the task.
“He’s a phenomenal competitor,” said Rich Gannon, who won the MVP in 2002 when he led the Oakland Raiders into Super Bowl XXXVII. “The guy plays every snap, plays every game and plays at a high level.
“Whatever it takes, that’s what he gives you.”
There are times Manning, greatly aided by a deep and diverse supporting cast since the Colts selected him with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, makes it look easy.
But it isn’t. Much goes into the making of an MVP, especially a four-time award winner.
Despite ESPN’s decision to name Tom Brady “Best Leader” (whatever that means-and no I’m not going to link to it, because it’s crap), Peyton Manning is showing everyone how to make an offense really hum.
Showing up when he doesn’t have to and working hard with the new players is what makes Peyton one of the greatest players in NFL history. This offense this season is going to be insanely good. I suppose it’s a little sad for the announcers not to have stories of the now legendary offseason workouts with 18 and 88, but let’s face it, Tony Gonzalez and Roy Hall need some attention. Working with the guys competing for the #2 back slot is critical as well. Remember, we noted last week that the area in which Dom Rhodes will be toughest to replace is in receiving out of the backfield (his running numbers were mediocre at best). This team is going to be great to watch.
Also check out this nice piece from Star about linebacker prep. Seriously, Indy is going to replace Penn State as Linebacker U.
This plan has worked very well with one ugly and notable exception: The All-Time Worst Colt Ever Gilbert Gardner (yes, I’ve had his name officially changed to that).