No matter how Super Bowl XLVIII plays out next Sunday, Peyton Manning has already proven to me that he’s the greatest quarterback of all time. Mind you, I’ve got nothing against Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, but Payton Manning is a study of just how far one person can go in life with the right attitude, dedication, and unrelenting drive for achievement that I’ve ever seen.
Football is a rough and tumble game, and Peyton Manning has been focused on mastering the game of football excellence since he first donned a football uniform in 1988 at age 12. As the son of Archie Manning, one of the most celebrated football athletes in the South, Peyton wasn’t yet ready to wow the hometown crowd with his prowess as a football quarterback. While he certainly had football in his blood, he was just as green as any other young player. He first focused on gaining experience, getting a good education, getting focused, working hard, and going the extra mile every day.
Over the years, he focused on building strong, personal coalitions with his coaches and teammates, worked harder and smarter than competitors, and faced disappointments with renewed fire and dedication that we often see in true champions. Through 25 years of racking up extraordinary passing yards, completions, and touchdowns that make for great football, we also watched him face excruciating disappointments and losses. As the 2012 season approached and following an injury, Peyton was released by the Indianapolis Colts after a long and successful 14-year career in what could have been a career-ending personal defeat.
But, like champions in all areas of life, Peyton worked hard to get healthy again and focused with renewed vigor on helping bring the Denver Broncos to this place in time and history. So, no matter what happens on Sunday, I will always view Payton Manning as the greatest quarterback of all time … for the dedication, courage, strength and fortitude he has exhibited throughout his football career and in life.
It’s in all of us to be a champion in something that is important to each of us. On Sunday, you can bet I’ll be watching Peyton Manning, who is already a winner before the first touchdown.