There is little doubt that had the Denver Broncos faltered again in 2015 and fell short of the Super Bowl title that this is a question no one would be asking. However, the plan that Peyton Manning and John Elway set out for when the two joined in 2012 had finally come to fruition and the storybook ending was one for the ages.
Where does Manning's career in Denver rank among the greats who came before him?
To find that answer, we should look at some of his Broncos-centric accomplishments.
- 2013 NFL MVP
- NFL Record for most touchdowns in a season
- NFL Record for most passing yards in a season
- 4 straight AFC West Division titles
- Two AFC conference titles
- Super Bowl 50 champion
That's some impressive accomplishments that would rival any Hall of Fame players career, much less four short seasons. Here's another tidbit that I think pushes Manning over the top to make him worthy of the Broncos' Mt. Rushmore; he had 140 touchdown passes with the Broncos. To put that into perspective, John Elway had 300 touchdown passes in sixteen years. Simply incredible.
But is it enough to unseat one of the current Broncos on the list?
Who gets bumped from this list in favor of Manning?
John Elway is clearly the lock here, as is Terrell Davis. Both were Super Bowl MVP's and did just a bit more than Manning overall. Shannon Sharpe is also a Hall of Famer with as many accolades at his position as Manning achieved in his four seasons in Denver.
That leaves Randy Gradishar. Would it make sense to bump his Orange Crush for Manning's four years of greatness?
As much as it pains me to say so, yes, it does. The past four seasons represent the greatest four-year run in Denver Broncos history. Yes, history.
No other quarterback, John Elway included, has led the Broncos to more success in a four year span than Peyton Manning.
The longevity argument is heard every year when Terrell Davis is wrongfully denied entry into the Hall of Fame, so I won't make it here. Manning has earned his spurs through the way he conducted himself in Denver.
Let's put him on our Mt. Rushmore and then into the Ring of Fame. God bless you, Peyton Manning and God bless the Denver Broncos!