First came Archie. I remember him well. I was young and an avid fan watching the elder Manning lose game after game with those horrendous Saint teams that could only muster 1 or 2 wins a year. Then came Peyton. Great career at Tennessee, however the knock on the college game was he couldn’t bring home a national championship to the Orange and White faithful. Center stage, Indianapolis Colts. Same story, year after year. Mega stats, can’t win the big game when it counts. Fast forward to yesterday – Colts vs. Pats. If he loses and throws for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns and no picks, it was a good Peyton day, but again the brass ring was elusive. Win – the monkey and everything else is off the Manning back. The biggest drive of his life – college or pro came yesterday. 80 yards to go, down by 3, forget the tie, it was time for Peyton to win and watch the white smoke rise from the RCA dome.
Even if he loses the Super Bowl, he exorcised the Patriot ghosts, the team that owned him. He won and did it on his own terms. He took a knee. It was fitting for the Manning clan. It is his time to shine – his father’s dream and perhaps his brother Eli’s future. One thing for certain. The Saints were not the feel good story of New Orleans this year. The real deal is the Manning’s and how they have overcome scrutiny, while maintaining a strong family core and helping those in the bayou who have needed it the most. This is the Manning tradition and it happened to one of the nicest people and families in professional sports.
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