By Tank Spencer
I'm picking the Broncos to win Sunday, but it almost seems that justice would only be served if Peyton Manning were to win another ring this year. The man has been incredible and just having one ring to his credit is an injustice. Here's why it has to be so:
I. SOCIAL JUSTICE
Dolphins fans will not like this point, but Manning is OWED at least one more ring. Yes, Manning is better than Dan Marino ever was, but only one Lombardi Trophy for the greatest? Dan, of course, has none and will probably forever be the greatest to never win the big one. Here's the thing... Peyton had some of the glory from his glory days in Indianapolis stolen from him by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Had that juggernaut not existed, Peyton may have four rings by now.
II. MORE TALENT
It is arguable that Manning is more talented at his position than any other player in NFL history. Peyton is superior in football intellect and ability than just about anyone. It's a HUGE understatement to say he's better in all facets of the game and probably life than his baby brother Eli. Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings to Peyton's one.
After suffering what many suspected was a career-ending neck injury, Peyton Manning has come back with the fury of a thousand suns. He has put together the greatest single-season performance in NFL history. He broke (or helped break) so many records: Most Passing Yards (5,477), Most Passing TD's (55) - the Broncos as a team - Most Points Scored (606), Most 50+ Point Games (3), Most TDs (76).
IV. LAST CHANCE?
It seems unlikely that a guy who just set the world on fire and insists that he's still learning how to play his position could be on the doorstep of retirement. However, time waits for no man and the end has to be near for Peyton. At 37, how much longer does he have? He's already decided at least another year. Could he go until 42 like Favre? Maybe longer? Even if he does, could the Broncos keep enough talent around him to stay atop the league?
Apparently The Simpsons predicted the outcome of Sunday's showdown. Check this out from the "Bonfire of the Manatees" (S17) episode from 2005.