Peyton Manning is once again a Super Bowl Champion as his Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 by a score of 24-10. For Manning it’s his second Super Bowl win against a pair of Super Bowl losses. He went 1-1 in title games with the Indianapolis Colts and he is now also 1-1 with the Denver Broncos, making him the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.
There is a lot of speculation that Super Bowl 50 was his final NFL game and there is no doubt that when he does hang up his cleats for good, he will be a no doubt first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. But his glorious career hasn’t always been roses. He IS human after all. There have been plenty of thorns and bumps in the road along the way. Here we will take a look at the top 10 worst moments of his otherwise tremendous career.
10 Colts lose to the Titans 19-16 on 1/16/00
Manning made his first career playoff start and rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but other than that he wasn’t much of a factor. His completed just 19 of 42 passes for 227 yards and had no touchdown passes but didn’t throw an interception. He was pretty much a non factor in the game as the Tennessee Titans advanced to the next round of the playoffs over the Indianapolis Colts. Yes that’s true; the Titans were really once a playoff team.
9 Colts lose to the Patriots 44-13 on 9/30/01
The New England Patriots used this blowout of the Indianapolis Colts as a springboard to a Super Bowl title and it was the beginning of their dynasty run over the past 15 years. Manning did his part by completing 20 of 34 passes for just 196 yards and a touchdown. But he also tossed three interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. It was an ugly game by the Colts and according to records, all of the balls in this game were inflated properly.
8 Colts lose to the Chargers 23-21 on 11/11/07
When you take a look at Manning’s line in this game it doesn’t look too bad. He completed 34 of his 56 pass attempts for 328 yards and also had a couple of touchdown passes. The problem was that he also threw six interceptions. That is the most he has thrown in a game over his career and it is still the Indianapolis Colts team record. Despite the dismal performance the Colts still had a shot to win the game, but Adam Vinatieri missed a potential game winning field goal late and the San Diego Chargers held on for the win.
7 Colts lose to the Jets 44-6 on 9/20/98
In his first NFL season Manning wasn’t an instant NFL star. He was thrown into the fire right away on a pretty bad Colts squad. There were a lot of games that were very forgettable that season but Week 3 might have been one of the worst. He connected on 20 of 44 pass attempts for just 193 yards with no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. The picks helped the New York Jets get out to an early lead in the game and Manning couldn’t do anything against a tough defense that day to try and make the score more respectable. New York made him look worse than he really was to that point in his young career.
6 Colts beat the Ravens 15-6 on 1/13/07
Manning was in charge of the Indianapolis Colts offense for this playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens. But he didn’t do much to help his squad to the win. He went 15-30 passing on the game for a total of only 170 yards with no touchdown passes and he threw a pair of interceptions. The Colts used the win to advance in the post season and eventually won the Super Bowl that season but Manning wasn’t a factor in this game. He did get the Colts into field goal range throughout the game but wasn’t able to lead any touchdown drives. Adam Vinatieri kicked 5 field goals for the only Indianapolis points on the game.
5 Colts lose to the Dolphins 41-6 on 12/10/01
This one was a Monday night prime time game that Manning would love to pretend never happened. The Colts fell behind in the game early to the Miami Dolphins 20-0 before they finally started to move the ball. But they weren’t able to move it across the goal line as Manning completed 19 of his 32 passes for a miserable 173 yards and no touchdowns. His three interceptions help the Dolphins to a lopsided victory. He was a major factor in this game but only for the Dolphins.
4 Colts lose to the Jets 41-0 on 1/4/03
This one was just flat out ugly. The Indianapolis Colts were heavily favored to beat up the New York Jets who had backed into the playoffs and the experts thought this game was going to be a blowout. They got the end result correct, but for the wrong team. The Jets defense came after Manning with blitzes throughout the game and he was only able to complete 14 of 31 pass attempts for a total of just 137 yards and no touchdowns. He tossed two interceptions from the constant pressure the Jets brought at him. This game remains one of the NFL’s most lopsided playoff shutouts in history.
3 Colts lose to the Patriots 24-14 on 1/18/04
The Colts met up with the New England Patriots with the AFC Championship on the line and Manning had one of the worst games of his career. He finished the game completing 23 of 47 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown but he was intercepted 4 times, 3 of them by Ty Law. Rodney Harrison picked off the fourth interception of the game and by the time the Colts had figured out how to move the ball, they were in a huge hole that they were not able to climb out of. Manning completed more passes to Law during the game than to most of his own receivers.
2 Broncos lose to the Chiefs 29-13 on 11/15/15
When the Denver Broncos were preparing to meet with the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City was on a red hot tear that would carry them all the way to the playoffs. Manning was injured but thought he could still play and help the Broncos get a victory. What resulted was the worst game of his career. The Chiefs jumped out to a 29-0 lead as Manning completed only 5 passes for 35 yards and he tossed four interceptions. He became the first quarterback in over 25 years to throw four interceptions in a game and not have more than 5 completions in the same game. After the game he admitted that it was a mistake to play in the game because he was suffering from several different injuries at the time. He did not take the field again until the final week of the regular season.
1 Manning accused of HGH use in December of 2015
In late 2015 a documentary that was aired by Al Jazeera after an undercover probe, claimed that Manning used HGH. The report stemmed from information they said that they had received about an Indiana based anti aging clinic. The allegations from their top source have been recanted by him and Manning responded by saying he was "angry, furious, and disgusted is really how I feel, sickened by it. It stings me, whoever this guy is, to insinuate that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. It's a joke. It's a freaking joke." At this point it appears the story isn’t true and Manning is telling the truth. And if he is, it’s just sad that a great career will always be marred by the fact of the allegations. Because even though they appear to be false, people will always remember them and there will always be a question in the back of society’s mind of if he cheated or not.