Peyton Manning

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an
American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts NFL franchise.

He is the son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning and Olivia Manning, and the older brother of current New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Peyton played college football for the University of Tennessee and was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Manning is one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the NFL today. His quick release and ability to read defenses is reveled and feared by his opponents. Despite his high level of play, he has yet to win a Super Bowl, and is winless in seven attempts in Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.

College career

Because of his father's legacy at Ole Miss, as well as his own status as the most highly recruited high school quarterback of his class, Peyton Manning stunned many when he chose to attend and play for the University of Tennessee. Manning would become Tennessee's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards, 863 completions and 89 touchdowns, while compiling a 39-6 record as a starter. In his college career, he threw 33 interceptions in 1,381 attempts, still an NCAA record for best all-time interception percentage.

Although he completed his degree, a BA in speech communication with a 3.61 GPA, in three years, and was projected to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft, Manning returned to Tennessee for his senior year. He put up even more impressive numbers in his last season (3,819 yards, 36 touchdowns) and would be the only player in Tennessee History to have his number retired.

Professional career

Manning has started every game in his NFL career and has missed only one snap due to injury. He has missed many other snaps due to large leads. He was the NFL co-MVP in 2003. He shared the honor with Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair. After many football insiders criticized Manning for being 0-3 in the playoffs, he won his first NFL playoff game against the Denver Broncos on January 4, 2004. Manning's Passer Rating in the Colts' playoff games against the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs was a perfect 158.3. However, he had a difficult AFC championship game against the New England Patriots, throwing four interceptions in a 24-14 loss.

In 2004, Manning became the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time, signing a $99.2m contract for seven years with a $34.5m signing bonus, which averages out to $14.17m annually. Under the contract, Manning is also eligible to earn an extra $19m in incentives.

In addition to his individual achievements, Manning also led the Colts to a 12-4 record and their second consecutive AFC South division title. As a result, he was a near-unanimous selection for the 2004 NFL MVP, was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year and Pro Bowl MVP. However, the Colts' 2004 season ended in Foxboro for a second straight year with a 20-3 loss in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against New England.

In some sports circles, Manning has taken on a reputation of not being able to win big games due to his futility against the Patriots and his 0-4 record against Florida in college. People of this thinking usually make comparisons to Dan Marino, a prolific quarterback who never won a Super Bowl. Others make the case that it is still too early in his career to make that claim and that the Colts' oft-shaky defense is a bigger factor in the losses. It could be said that this is one of the most contentious topics in football today.

- The following season Manning had a spectacular campaign and broke several major NFL records. These include:
- Most touchdown passes in a single season, 49 (previously held by Dan Marino with 48 in 1984)
- Passer-rating in a single season, 121.1 (previously held by Steve Young with 112.8 in 1994)
- Four touchdowns or more in five consecutive games
- Five touchdown passes in four different games in less than twelve months (previously held by Marino)
- Manning is the only NFL player to pass for 4000 yards in 6 consecutive seasons
- Manning, with wide receiver Marvin Harrison, has the record for QB/WR completions in the history of the NFL. They topped the tandem of Jim Kelly and Andre Reed at 664 completions in 2004.