I’ve been putting this topic off for a little while because I am sure to some it feel like Denver bashing (which it isn’t). However, I also did not want to wait until after the Super Bowl to share my dislike as it could come across as sour grapes if he wins or sore winner if he loses.
First of all,there are several quarterbacks that I dislike. Among them are pretty much every Dallas Cowboys quarterback in the 90s and 00s, with the exceptions being Drew Bledsoe and Randall Cunningham. I have never liked Troy Aikman and I’m still a little peeved at Parcells for pulling Bledsoe for Romo. Most people would qualify me as a Cowboys fan. I also do not like Steve Young, Brett Favre, Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford, JaMarcus Russell, and even Colin Kaepernick. There are various reasons why I like or dislike specific quarterbacks. It rarely has to do with their skill.
Second, I recognize that Peyton Manning might be the best quarterback of my lifetime. Supposedly, someday there will be another quarterback(s) who makes Manning’s records look puny, but I expect to be in my late 50’s or 60’s before that happens. I recognize and appreciate the work ethic Peyton has to being the best quarterback he can be. His trivial knowledge about the game is amazing. None of those reasons have me complaining. Peyton Manning is basically the quarterback that all others wish to be in any of those areas. Though it might be hard to believe, I actually cheered on Manning’s Colts against the Pats and Bears the year they won it all. Granted my cheering had more to do with the coach, Tony Dungy, I also felt the superstar quarterback deserved at least one ring.
My issue with Mr. Manning is based off one specific incident after a playoff loss, I believe to the Pittsburgh Steelers. There were a lot of wacky plays including a sack and a weird fumble in the last couple of minutes. In one of his interviews, Peyton blamed his offensive line for the loss. Up until that point, I was basically ambivalent to Manning. However, because of who he is and what he knows, etc., it truly disappointed me that he blamed his offensive line for the loss. One of the main reasons is that I played offensive tackle in high school. Whenever we missed a block, we did not need anyone else to tell us. We knew before the defender was past us. It was obvious that the coach would chew us out, and maybe another lineman, but never the quarterback. Quarterbacks that spread blame are generally prima donnas. We (the offensive lineman) don’t chew quarterbacks out for missed passes or interceptions, we encourage them. That is why Manning’s words were so atrocious.
I remember telling my dad that the next game Manning would play in, he would get sacked a few times in the first half. Later that year, in the first Manning Bowl, I believe the offensive line gave up two or three sacks. They sent their message that they can live up to Manning’s words. Throughout the second half, I believe Peyton was untouched.
So yes, Peyton got what he deserved, but that particular incident still gets to me. In his second Super Bowl, Manning did something similar with Reggie Wayne after the interception that ultimately sealed the victory for the New Orleans Saints. Wayne ran the correct route, but Manning made an uncharacteristic mistake and instead of owning up to it, he blamed Wayne. For all of his competitiveness, Peyton should have shouldered the blame… even if Wayne happened to be at fault.
I can handle brash talkers like Richard Sherman. Say whatever you want about his mouth, but Sherman was one of, if not the best cornerbacks in the NFL this year. He made the critical play at the end that proved to be crucial for the Seahawks advancing. However, Peyton Manning drives me crazy with calling out his fellow players for mistakes when he doesn’t always own up to his mistakes.
Sadly, I have never moved passed these feelings for Manning, who by all accounts is a great man and possibly the best quarterback in history. But that is why I don’t like him.