Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have been at or near the top of the Super Bowl futures for much of the past two years. Why? Because he’s Peyton Manning.
Nowadays though, with Super Bowl XLVIII fast approaching, it’s time we take a good long look at what that means exactly. Why is one man, a supremely gifted yet ultimately mortal quarterback, enough to fast-track this Broncos squad to the top of the SuperBowl betting odds?
Manning, to put it simply, has been around the block. Drafted in 1998, the future Hall of Famer has thrown nearly 65,000 career passing yards, a whopping 491 touch downs and has played in every single game of his 16-year career with the exception of the 2011 campaign that he missed in its entirety following neck surgery.
To call the Louisiana native a game changer would be the understatement of the century.
What’s easy to overlook, however, is that while he always seemed to find moderate success during his 12 years with Indianapolis, he only managed to actually win the Super Bowl once. You can thank Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and even the San Diego Chargers, for that – both of whom the Broncos could reasonably expect to face between now and the end of this year’s postseason.
Now we don’t bring up Manning’s lone Super Bowl win to sling mud on his well-earned reputation – there’s no doubt when reviewing his stats that he’ll go down as one of the most competent quarterbacks in football history – we just do it in response to the fact that the Broncos have remained consistently at the top of the Super Bowl odds since he showed up in Denver.
Having led his team to the playoffs in 13 of the 15 years that he set foot on the field, there’s no denying that Manning knows how to win. The nine postseason victories already under his belt – most recently in the AFC Championship back in 2009 – only drive the point home further.
The question to keep in mind when you bet on the Super Bowl is, can this year’s squad stay sharper than some of his teams have in the past?
While the Broncos lost to the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens in a double-overtime Divisional Round barnburner last year, the result was an invariably disappointing one considering that the Ravens had lost six times over the course of the regular season and weren’t exactly considered a postseason juggernaut.
Seven times over the course of Manning’s Indianapolis tenure, the Colts burnt out of the playoffs without picking up a single win, whether it be in the Wild Card Weekend or Divisional Playoffs Round. What can Knowshon Moreno, or the receiving corps of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker do to ensure that their quarterback doesn’t have to go through that all over again?
The question is a poignant one and one to keep in mind for your Super Bowl betting tips. It underlines the biggest concerns surrounding Manning in the days leading up to his latest pursuit of a championship. Though Manning is an accomplished, decorated and undisputedly successful quarterback, he’s somewhat limited in his impact on the final result. One man can’t be expected to carry his team all the time, after all.