Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning
Manning in 2017
No. 18
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1976-03-24) March 24, 1976
New Orleans, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school: Isidore Newman
(New Orleans, Louisiana)
College: Tennessee
NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL records
Career NFL statistics
Passing attempts: 9,380
Passing completions: 6,125
Completion percentage: 65.3
TDINT: 539–251
Passing yards: 71,940
Passer rating: 96.5
Player stats at

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976) is a former American football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time due to his numerous career achievements,[1] he spent 14 seasons with the Colts and was a member of the Denver Broncos in his last four seasons. Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee, leading the Tennessee Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship in his senior season. He is the second son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning was selected by the Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. From 1998 to 2010, he improved the fortunes of the struggling Colts franchise and helped transform them into consistent playoff contenders. During his tenure as starting quarterback, Manning led the team to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl title, the franchise's first in over three decades, as well as their first since relocating to Indianapolis.

After undergoing neck surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season, Manning was released by the Colts and signed with the Broncos. Serving as the team's starting quarterback from 2012 to 2015, he contributed to the Broncos reaching the top of their division each year and his playing career concluded with a victory in Super Bowl 50.

Manning holds many NFL records, including passing yards (71,940), touchdown passes (539), AP MVP awards (5),[2] Pro Bowl appearances (14), 4,000-yard passing seasons (14),[3][4] single-season passing yards (5,477 in 2013)[5] and single-season passing touchdowns (55 in 2013).[6] A two-time Super Bowl winner and the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, Manning is also the only quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two different franchises more than once each, with different coaches at each Super Bowl start (Dungy, Caldwell, Fox, Kubiak), and the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. At 39 years of age, Manning was the oldest quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl, a feat matched the following year by Tom Brady.[7]

During a 2009 Monday Night Football game, Manning received the nickname "The Sheriff" from color commentator Jon Gruden due to his tendency to audible prior to the snap,[8] and he was one of the most recognizable and parodied players in the NFL.[9] Teams led by Manning typically utilized the hurry-up offense in place of the standard huddle.[10]

High school career

Manning attended Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and led their football team to a 34–5 record during his three seasons as the starter.[11] He was named Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player-of-the-Year and Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club National Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 1993.[12] While at Newman, he began wearing the #18 jersey in honor of his older brother Cooper, who was forced to give up football due to spinal stenosis.[13] Younger brother Eli also wore the number when he became starting quarterback. Newman has since retired the #18 jersey and it can be seen hanging in the school gym.[14] Manning was among the most sought after high school players in the country and was recruited by about 60 colleges, led by Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, and his father's alma mater, Ole Miss.[15]

College career

Manning chose to play college football for the University of Tennessee Volunteers under head coach Phillip Fulmer.[16] Many fans were surprised that he did not pick the Ole Miss Rebels, for whom his father Archie played, and Peyton's parents received several angry phone calls and letters.[17] He became Tennessee's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns and won 39 of 45 games as a starter, breaking the Southeastern Conference (SEC) record for career wins.[18][19]

1994 season

As a freshman, Manning began the season as the third-string quarterback.[20] In the season opener against UCLA, Manning was one of three quarterbacks to come off the bench after starter Jerry Colquitt suffered a season-ending injury on the seventh play of the game. However, Manning was not able to generate any offense and was pulled from the game.[21] During the season's fourth game, against Mississippi State, starter Todd Helton got injured and Manning took over.[22] The Vols lost 24–21, but Manning was named the team's starter and remained so for the rest of his college career.[23] In his first start, the following week against Washington State, the Vols won 10–9. They won all but one of their remaining games, finishing the season 8–4 with a 45–23 victory over Virginia Tech in the 1994 Gator Bowl.[24][25][26][27]

1995 season

Manning and the Vols started off the 1995 season with victories over East Carolina and SEC rival Georgia, before heading off to Gainesville to face off against the rival Gators.[28] Against Florida, he threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Vols to a 30–21 halftime lead. However, the Gators outscored the Vols 41–7 in the second half, winning 62–37.[29] This was the Vols' only loss of the season, as they won their remaining eight regular season games, including a 41–14 win over rival Alabama and then defeated Ohio State by a score of 20–14 in the Citrus Bowl.[30][31][32] The Vols ended the season ranked third and Manning came in sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.[33][34]

1996 season

The Vols opened the 1996 season ranked #2 behind Nebraska and one of the favorites to win the National Championship.[35] However, after winning their first two games against UNLV and UCLA, the Vols again lost to Florida by a score of 35–29, with Manning throwing four interceptions.[36] After winning their next four games, the Vols were upset by Memphis, despite Manning passing for 296 yards.[37] The Vols won the remainder of their games, including a 48–28 win in the Citrus Bowl over Northwestern, a game in which Manning passed for 408 yards and four touchdowns; he was named the game's MVP.[38][39][40] His 243 pass completions and 63.9% completion percentage led the SEC that year.[41] In the 1996 season, Manning finished in eighth place in the Heisman Trophy voting.[42]

Manning completed his degree in three years, a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication,[43][44] and was projected to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft, but returned to Tennessee for his senior year.[45]

1997 season

In his senior season, the Vols opened the season with victories against Texas Tech and UCLA, but for the third time in his career, Manning fell to Florida 33–20.[46][47][48] The Vols won the rest of their regular season games, finishing 10–1, and advanced to the SEC Championship game against Auburn.[49] Down 20–7 in the second quarter, Manning led the Vols to a 30–29 comeback victory. Throwing for four touchdowns, he was named the game's MVP, but injured himself in the process.[50][51] The #3 Vols were matched-up with #2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; if Tennessee won and top-ranked Michigan lost to Washington State in the Rose Bowl, the Vols would have won the national championship.[52] However, the Vols' defense could not stop Nebraska's rushing attack, giving up over 400 rushing yards in a 42–17 loss.[53] As a senior, Manning won numerous awards; he was a consensus first-team All-American, the Maxwell Award winner, the Davey O'Brien Award winner, the Johnny Unitas Award winner, and the Best College Player ESPY award winner, among others.[54][55][56] He finished as the runner-up to Charles Woodson in the 1997 Heisman Trophy voting.[57] In 2005, Tennessee retired Manning's number (No. 16).[58] One of the streets leading to Neyland Stadium has been renamed Peyton Manning Pass.[59] While at the University of Tennessee, Manning excelled academically and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1997[43] and awarded the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.[60]

Sexual harassment allegation

In 1996, while attending the University of Tennessee, Manning was accused of sexual harassment by female trainer Jamie Ann Naughright after he exposed his buttocks during a foot examination. Manning said that he was just pulling a prank by "mooning" another athlete in the room as Naughright bent over to examine him. Naughright settled with the university for $300,000 and resigned from the school.[61][62]

Post-collegiate honors

Manning was inducted into the Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.[63] He was also named the 2016 Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.[64] Manning was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017, his first year of eligibility for the honor, and was inducted during a ceremony in December. He will join his father Archie in the hall, making them the first father and son duo to both be inducted as players.[65]


NCAA collegiate career statistics
Tennessee Volunteers
Season Passing Rushing
CompAttYardsPct.TDIntQB ratingAttYardsAvgTD
1994 891441,14161.8116145.221-26-1.21
1995 2443802,95464.2224146.54160.15
1996 2433803,28763.92012147.742-131-3.13
1997 2874773,81960.23611147.749-30-0.63
NCAA Career Totals8631,38111,20162.58933147.1153-181-1.212

Professional career


Manning was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft.[66] He would start as a rookie and go on to play for the Colts for 13 full seasons before being sidelined by a neck injury, which cost him the entire 2011 season.[67] After recovering from the injury, he was released by the Colts and joined the Denver Broncos for whom he played from the 2012 season[68] through the 2015 season. Excluding the year lost to the neck injury, Manning played in 17 NFL seasons.[69]

Manning is considered to be one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time.[1][70][71] He was named the NFL's most valuable player a record five times (four times as a Colt, once as a Bronco), was named to the Pro Bowl a record 14 times and named a first-team All-Pro seven times. As a starter up to the end of 2015 season, he had a career winning percentage of .702 in the regular season. He holds the NFL record for career touchdown passes and career passing yards, achieved in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The most commonly cited criticism of Manning's professional career is that despite great success and gaudy statistics during the regular season, he did not enjoy similar levels of success in the post-season.[72] His career post-season record as a starter was a more modest 14-13, compared to his regular season record through the 2015 season, which was 186-79. Manning won two Super Bowls (Super Bowl XLI and Super Bowl 50) and played in two others (Super Bowl XLIV and Super Bowl XLVIII), being named MVP of XLI, while losing XLIV in an upset, and managing just one successful touchdown drive in each of XLVIII and 50. During the early part of Manning's career, "his record-breaking stats were written off because of the Colts' postseason failures"; conversely he posted poor statistics in the 2015 regular season and Super Bowl 50, which would be his final season, but nonetheless won his second Super Bowl thanks to his team's defense.[73] Manning is also the only quarterback in NFL history to make the Super Bowl four times with four different head coaches (Dungy, Caldwell, Fox and Kubiak).[74]

Indianapolis Colts

1998 season: rookie season

Despite concerns about his arm strength and mobility,[75] Manning was selected first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.[76] Although many considered Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf his rival for the first selection in the draft, and Leaf's quarterback rating was higher, all six experts Sports Illustrated consulted believed that Manning was superior.[77] Five said that they would take him first in the draft; Sid Gillman said of Manning, "this is a pro quarterback".[77] The Colts' scouts initially favored Leaf, but the team's management and coaches were gradually won over by Manning's attitude, particularly as Manning showed up prepared to a scheduled interview meeting with the Colts' staff while Leaf arrived late. Colts general manager Bill Polian who had the final say on the draft selection recalled Manning saying "I'll leave you with this thought. If you take me, I promise you we will win a championship. If you don't, I promise I'll come back and kick your ass."[78][79]

In Manning's rookie season under head coach Jim Mora, he passed for 3,739 yards with 26 touchdowns, set five different NFL rookie records including most touchdown passes in a season, most interceptions (28) in a rookie year, and was named to the NFL All-Rookie First Team.[80][81][82][83] In his NFL debut, Manning was 21-of-37 for 302 passing yards for one touchdown and three interceptions. He threw his first career touchdown, a six-yard pass to Marvin Harrison, in the fourth quarter of the 24–15 loss.[84] In Week 4, against the New Orleans Saints, he threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Marshall Faulk in the 19–13 loss.[85] Manning's first win came against fellow rookie Leaf, 17–12 over the San Diego Chargers in Week 5.[86] Two weeks later, Manning faced off against Steve Young; he threw three touchdowns, tying a Colts rookie record, but the 49ers kicked a late field goal to win 34–31.[87] In November against the New York Jets, Manning threw for three touchdowns in a 24–23 win; he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this performance.[88] It was the first game-winning drive of Manning's career, as he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Marcus Pollard.[81][89] Manning was certainly a bright spot in the 1998 season for the Colts with 3,739 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns, but he also threw a league high 28 interceptions as the team struggled to a 3–13 record with a defense that gave up more than 27 points per game.[90][91][92][75] The Colts lost many close games, including five games in which they had led by double-digits at some point.[93][94]

1999 season

Manning and the Colts opened the 1999 season with a 31–14 victory over Buffalo, but gave up a 28–7 lead the following week against the Patriots and lost 31–28.[95][96] After defeating San Diego 27–19 in a game in which Manning threw for over 404 yards, scored his first professional rushing touchdown, and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, they lost again, to Miami by a score of 34–31.[81][97][98][99] The Colts responded by winning 11 of their remaining 12 games, finishing 13–3 and the AFC East division. In Week 11, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Manning threw a then career-high 80-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Wilkins in the 44–17 victory.[100] The ten-game turnaround from the previous year set an NFL record.[101]

His seven game-winning drives were tied for the most in NFL history until Matthew Stafford had eight in the 2016 season.[102][103]

As the second seed in the AFC, the Colts earned a first round bye, and faced Tennessee in the playoffs.[104][105] The Colts lost 19–16 to the Super Bowl-bound Titans and Manning was limited to 19-of-42 passing attempts for 227 passing yards and one touchdown run.[106]

Manning finished the year with 4,135 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns, and was named both Second-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl, both firsts for him.[80][107] In the Pro Bowl, he passed for 270 yards with 2 touchdowns.[108]

2000 season

The Colts started the 2000 season with an opening week victory against Kansas City, then blew a 21–0 lead against the Raiders.[109][110] The Colts responded with a Monday Night Football victory against Jacksonville, a 43–14 win in which Manning threw for 430 yards and 4 touchdowns; Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this performance.[81][111] The Colts won four of their next five games, including one against New England in which Manning posted the first perfect passer rating of his career, but then lost four of the five games following that.[112] The Colts regained their momentum, winning their final three games, including a 31–10 win over Minnesota on Week 17.[113][114] Manning threw for four touchdowns in the win and was again named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the win gave the Colts a 10–6 record as well as a wild card spot in the playoffs.[81][115][116] In the wild card game, the Colts fell to the Dolphins 23–17 in overtime. Manning passed for 194 yards and a touchdown in the loss.[117][118] He finished the season with a league-high 357 pass completions for 4,413 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns and was named Second-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl.[80] At the Pro Bowl, Manning threw two touchdown passes.[119][120]

2001 season

Manning and the Colts introduced the no-huddle offense, and used it to great effect in a Week 1 rout of the Jets, 45–24.[121] Two weeks later (Week 2 games were not played as scheduled due to the 9/11 attacks) the Colts advanced to 2–0 with a win over Buffalo, behind Manning's 421 yards passing.[122] He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this game.[81] However, the Colts lost the following week to New England, and continued their slide, losing their following two games.[123] The Colts briefly rebounded, winning two games, but then lost seven of their last nine games. In the stretch, Manning a threw a career-high 86-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Pollard in the 34–20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.[124] After a 40–21 home loss to the 49ers,[125] in which Manning threw a career-high four interceptions in that game, coach Jim Mora uttered his famous "Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs," press conference.[126]

Despite the 6–10 record, Manning finished the season with 4,131 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, and four rushing touchdowns as the offense produced the second most points in the league.[127][128][129] However, the defense allowed the most points and Mora was fired after the season.[80][130]

2002 season

Before the 2002 season, Tony Dungy became Manning's second head coach in the NFL.[131] The Colts started off the 2002 season with a 4–1 record, before a three-game losing streak sent them to 4–4. The Colts responded by winning all but two of their remaining games, including a 35–13 upset of the Eagles in which Manning had a perfect passer rating for the second time in his career, giving them a 10–6 record and a spot in the playoffs.[132][133]

However, the Colts were pummeled by the New York Jets in the Wild Card Round, 41–0, with Manning passing for only 137 yards.[134][135] He finished the 2002 season with 4,200 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl team.[80]

In the Pro Bowl, Manning completed five of eleven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.[136]

2003 season: first MVP

The 2003 Colts began the season 5–0, including a 55–21 blowout of the Saints in which Manning recorded his third perfect passer rating game and threw six touchdown passes, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[81] On Monday Night Football, against the defending champion Buccaneers, Manning and the Colts trailed 35–14 in the final five minutes. After one short touchdown drive, the Colts recovered the onside kick. Manning threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison on 4th & 6 to make it 35–28. With 1:41 remaining, Manning got the ball back and drove the offense 85 yards for the game-tying touchdown. He set up the winning 29-yard field goal in overtime for a 38–35 win. It was the only time in NFL history a team won a game after trailing by 21 points in the final 4 minutes of regulation. Manning passed for 386 yards in the game.[137]

After an overtime loss to Carolina, the Colts won all but three of their remaining games, finishing 12–4.[138] On November 30, the Colts hosted the 9–2 New England Patriots in what would be the beginning of the NFL's top rivalry of the 2000s. The Colts trailed 31–10 late in the third quarter before Manning threw three touchdown passes in a span of six minutes to tie the game. Trailing 38–34 in the final minutes, the Colts had three plays at the 1-yard line to try and score the winning touchdown. Running back Edgerrin James was stopped on fourth down by linebacker Willie McGinest and the Patriots won.[139] In a Week 14 win against Atlanta, Manning threw for five touchdowns and was named Offensive Player of the Week a second time.[81][140] He also earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for the month of October.[81]

In the Wild Card playoff round, Manning and the Colts defeated the Denver Broncos 41–10 for his first playoff win. He passed for 377 yards and five touchdowns in the game, earning him a perfect passer rating, his second of the season and the fourth of his career.[141] After the game, Manning was awarded Player of the Week honors for the third time that season.[81] In the Divisional Round, Manning led the Colts to a 38–31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Neither team punted in the game.[142]

In the AFC Championship, Manning was shut down by the New England Patriots' top-ranked defense and posted the third lowest passer rating of his career at 35.5. The Patriots defense intercepted Manning four times and sacked him another four, as the Colts lost the game by a score of 24–14.[143][144]

During the season, Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and was named the AP NFL co-MVP along with Titans quarterback Steve McNair.[81][145] Manning also received the ESPY Award for Best NFL Player.[55]

Manning led the league with 379 pass completions for 4,267 passing yards and threw 29 touchdowns; he was named first-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl.[80][146] He passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns in the Pro Bowl, a 55–52 loss.[147]

2004 season: second MVP

The 2004 Colts opened the season with a 27–24 loss to the Patriots, after placekicker Mike Vanderjagt missed a game-tying field goal in the closing seconds of the game.[148] The Colts won their next four games including a 45–31 win over Green Bay in which Manning threw five touchdowns, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, but then lost their next two games, to Jacksonville and Kansas City, despite Manning throwing for 840 yards combined in the two games.[81][149][150][151] The Colts responded well, winning their next eight games before losing their final regular season game to Denver, a game in which Manning played only the first series.[152] During the month of November, Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice; once for his five-touchdown performance in a 49–14 blowout of Houston and once for his performance in a 41–9 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving in which he threw six touchdowns in less than three quarters.[153][154] Due to his performances in November, Manning earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors.[81] He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for a fourth time in the Week 16 game against San Diego[81] where he led the Colts to a 34–31 victory after trailing by fifteen in the fourth quarter. With the Colts facing a 4th & 4 at their own 26, Manning waved the punt team off the field and completed a 19-yard pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the first down. He finished the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley, his 49th touchdown pass of the season, breaking Dan Marino's record of 48. After the two-point conversion to tie, Manning got the ball first in overtime and set up the winning field goal. The Colts clinched the AFC's third seed with the win.[155]

During the season, Manning threw for 4,557 yards, had a then record 121.1 passer rating and a then-record 49 touchdown passes while throwing only 10 interceptions.[80][156] Manning's 2004 season was voted the second greatest passing season of all time by ESPN in 2013. He achieved this despite the 2004 season being his only season of his career where he attempted less than 500 passes. He finished with a league-high 13.6 yards per pass completion and 9.2 yards per pass attempt in 2004.[157] His 9.9% touchdown passing percentage is currently the highest in NFL history.[158] His 49 touchdown passes is currently the third highest ever and his 121.1 passer rating is the second highest ever. He was selected as the 2004 NFL MVP drawing 49 of 50 votes, was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year and was named the Best NFL Player at the ESPY Awards for the second consecutive year; Manning also received the ESPY Award for Best Record-Breaking Performance for his 49 touchdown passes.[55][145] The Colts finished the season with a 12–4 record and their second straight AFC South title.[159] The Colts scored a franchise record 522 points. Three Colts receivers had 1,000 yard seasons with at least 10 touchdowns that season, also a record. Sports statistics cite Football Outsiders calculates that Manning had the best season ever by a quarterback, play-for-play, in 2004.[160][161]

In the Wild Card game against Denver, Manning passed for 458 yards and four touchdowns.[162] However, the Colts' 2004 season ended in Foxborough for a second straight season with a 20–3 loss against New England, when Manning recorded a season-low passer rating of 69.3. It was Manning's seventh consecutive loss to the Patriots in Foxborough and the Colts' three points were their lowest single game point total since their opening game of the 2003 season.[163] Manning was named a Pro Bowl starter; in the Pro Bowl, he threw three  touchdowns in a 38–27 victory and was named the game's MVP.[164] Manning was also a unanimous first-team All-Pro selection.[165]

2005 season

In 2005, the Colts had a greatly improved defense over that of recent years. Combining this with their offense, they won their first 13 games, including a 40–21 rout of the two-time defending Super Bowl champions, New England. This was Manning's first road win against the Patriots in eight attempts, and his three  touchdown passes earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[81][166] By Week 15, the Colts had a perfect 13–0 record, and had secured the AFC South and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Nevertheless, head coach Tony Dungy made the decision to play all of his regular starters against the Chargers. However, the Colts played a sub-par game against the Chargers and fell short of the win; the score was 26–17.[167] Manning finished the 2005 season with 3,747 passing yards, the first time he had thrown for under 4,000 yards since his rookie season in 1998, largely because Manning sat out much of the final two games with the top AFC seed clinched. His quarterback rating of 104.1 was the highest in the league for the season.[80]

In the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers visited the RCA Dome for the second AFC divisional playoff game of the 2005 season. In the fourth quarter with only a few minutes left in the game, Manning threw what looked to be the game-ending interception to safety Troy Polamalu, but the interception was overturned (a call the NFL later admitted was incorrect).[168] The Colts went on to score, and got the ball back down three points near the end of the game. On fourth down, Manning was sacked near his own goal line, and the game seemed to be over as the Steelers were one yard from a touchdown. On the next play, the ball was fumbled by running back Jerome Bettis and picked up by Colts defender Nick Harper who appeared to have a clear path down the sideline for what might have been the game-winning score. However, Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dove in front of Harper and tackled him by the leg, saving a touchdown. Then the Colts drove down the field to the Steelers 27-yard line, before Mike Vanderjagt missed a field goal as time ran out.[169]

Manning came in second in voting for the MVP award to Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander ending his streak at two years.[170] He was named the 2005 winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Year Award, along with Tom Brady and Carson Palmer.[171][172] Manning was also named first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year and named to the Pro Bowl squad; in the Pro Bowl, he threw one touchdown pass and three interceptions.[173][174]

2006 season: first Super Bowl championship

Manning opened the 2006 season against his brother Eli's New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. It was the first NFL game with starting quarterbacks that were brothers, and Peyton's team won 26–21.[175] Manning passed for 400 yards against the Texans in a 43–24 victory, which earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors (he also won the award for his 345 yards and four touchdown passes against the Redskins in Week 7).[176][177] A second trip to New Jersey, this time to play the Jets, produced another Colts win. After taking the lead twice in the fourth quarter, Manning had to lead a third scoring drive, this time finishing with a one-yard quarterback sneak rushing touchdown in the last minute for a 31–28 win.[178]

At Denver, Manning again led three scoring drives in the fourth quarter in a 34–31 shootout win. He completed 32-of-39 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns.[179] Following a second straight season with a win at New England, then a home win against Buffalo, the Colts were the NFL's last unbeaten team at 9–0. Their first loss would come in Dallas. Plagued by a run defense that would allow over 100 yards in every game, the Colts were 11–4 heading into their final game.[180] Against Miami, Manning threw for 282 yards, two touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown. The Colts won 27–22, were AFC South division champions, and clinched the third seed in the AFC playoffs. Manning was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[181] He ended the regular season with 4,397 passing yards and a league-leading 31 touchdown passes. His passer rating (101.0) was the highest in the league for the third year in a row.[80] Manning helped the offense set an NFL record for third down conversion rate in a season (56.1%).[182]

Despite three interceptions, Manning completed 30 out of 38 passes as the Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card playoff game by a score of 23–8.[183] The following week they were limited to five field goals and no touchdowns, but defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 15–6.[184] In the AFC Championship game against the rival Patriots, the Colts trailed 14–3 when Manning threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Asante Samuel to give New England a 21–3 lead. Manning led the Colts to 32 points in the second half for a 38–34 victory, the final score coming late in the fourth quarter as Manning led the Colts on an 80-yard touchdown drive to take the lead for the first time in the game. He finished the game with 349 yards passing and two touchdowns (1 rushing). The comeback was the largest deficit ever overcome in a conference championship.[185]

Completing 25-of-38 passes for 247 yards with a touchdown and one interception, Manning led the Colts to a 29–17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI and was voted Super Bowl MVP.[186] Manning, who had been criticized for failing to win big games, exorcised his big-game demons with the win. "In years' past when our team's come up short, it's been disappointing", he told reporters. "Somehow we found a way to have learned from some of those losses and we've been a better team because of it."[187] For his role in the Colts' championship run, Manning was awarded the ESPY for Best Championship Performance.[188] Manning was again named to the Pro Bowl and was also named Second-team All-Pro; in the Pro Bowl he played only two series, passing for 67 yards.[80][189][190] Following the Super Bowl win, Manning agreed to restructure his contract to save the Colts $8.2 million in salary cap space.[191]

2007 season

Manning's Colts opened the NFL season with 7 wins, pitting them against an undefeated Patriots squad in a match-up that was being called "Super Bowl 41 1/2".[192] Manning and Addai helped the Colts to a 13–7 halftime lead, and an early fourth-quarter touchdown upped the lead to 20–10. However, Brady led the Patriots to two late touchdowns, to hand Manning his first loss of the season, 24–20. Manning finished the game with 225 yards passing, including a passing touchdown. He also had a rushing touchdown.[193]

Manning did not bounce back from the loss well. Against the San Diego Chargers, he threw for a career-worst and franchise-record six interceptions. Despite this, he was able to rally the Colts from a 23–0 deficit to 23–21, and gave Adam Vinatieri an opportunity to take the lead with a 29-yard field goal. However, Vinatieri's attempt missed, and the Colts fell to 7–2. Manning did not play particularly well against the Kansas City Chiefs either, throwing no touchdowns. However, he managed to lead the Colts on a late drive for a game-winning field goal, rushing for two yards on 4th and 1 in the process. Manning finished the game with 163 passing yards, allowing him to overtake 40,000 in his career.[194] The victory was Manning's 100th.[195]

The Colts won their next five games, securing yet another AFC South title, as well as the AFC's number two seed in the play-offs.[196] In that stretch was a Week 13 28–25 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars where he was 20 of 29 for 288 passing yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.[197] For his performance against the Jaguars, he was named as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[198] In the final game of the regular season, Manning played only two series before being replaced with back-up Jim Sorgi; the Colts lost the game to the Titans, 16–10.[4] Manning finished the season with 4,040 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes, and a quarterback rating of 98.0.[80] In the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Manning and the Colts lost to the Chargers, 28–24. Manning helped the Colts to four different leads but could not lead a final touchdown drive for the win. Manning finished the game with 402 yards passing and 3 passing touchdowns.[199] Peyton was widely viewed during Super Bowl XLII as he cheered on brother Eli and the New York Giants in their upset of the previously undefeated New England Patriots.[200] Manning was named a Pro Bowl starter and passed for 147 yards and a touchdown in three series.[201]

2008 season: third MVP

On July 14, 2008, Manning had surgery to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee.[202] Manning, who had worn a knee brace due to problems since he was in college, sat out all four preseason games and missed most of training camp.

In the first regular season game at the new Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts lost, 29–13, to the Chicago Bears.[203] The following week, they fell behind 15–0 to the Minnesota Vikings in the second half before rallying to win the game on Adam Vinatieri's 47-yard field goal. Manning passed for 311 yards as the Colts avoided their first 0–2 start since Manning's rookie season.[204] Week 3 matched the Colts with division rival Jacksonville. Manning threw two interceptions in the game, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Rashean Mathis. Jacksonville rushed for 236 yards and held the ball for over 41 minutes. Still, trailing by six points late in the game, Manning led the Colts on a 77-yard touchdown drive to take a 21–20 lead. Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee made a 51-yard field goal to win the game and drop the Colts to a 1–2 record.[205]

For the third week in a row, Manning used the fourth quarter to bring the Colts back from a 27–10 deficit in the last five minutes against the Houston Texans to a 31–27 victory.[206] It was the first time an NFL team had won a game in regulation after trailing by 17 points in the last five minutes.[207] Manning threw a seven-yard touchdown pass on 4th & 6 to rookie tight end Tom Santi to make the deficit 27–17. Houston quarterback Sage Rosenfels, starting for the injured Matt Schaub, then fumbled the ball on a scramble, and it was returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Gary Brackett. After another Rosenfels fumble, Manning threw the 5-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. The Colts scored three touchdowns in 2:10.[208]

On October 12, Manning led the Colts to a 31–3 blow out win at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens to avoid their first 0–3 start at home since the 1997 season. Manning was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the 17th time in his career for his effort of three touchdown passes and 271 yards passing.[209] It was revealed during the game by CBS commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms that Manning had a second surgery on his knee before the season started. Colts coach Tony Dungy confirmed this report the day after the game.[210]

The Colts suffered their largest margin of defeat, 34–14, against the Green Bay Packers the following week. Manning threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns (for the second time in his career; the first was on September 30, 2001, against the New England Patriots).[211][212] The following week the Colts went into Tennessee on Monday Night Football to face the 6–0 Titans. They led 14–6 in the third quarter, but Tennessee scored 25 unanswered for a 31–21 victory and almost assured the Colts they would not win the AFC South division title for the first time in six seasons.[213] At 3–4, the Colts opened up November with their annual showdown against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Tied at 15 in the 4th quarter, Manning set up Adam Vinatieri for a 52-yard field goal that proved to be the winning points in an 18–15 victory. Manning completed 21-of-29 passes for 254 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.[214] The Colts were 4–4 halfway through the season and still alive in the AFC playoff race.

In Week 10, the Colts traveled to Pittsburgh, who had the league's highest ranked defense. They trailed 17–7 in the second quarter before Manning found tight end Dallas Clark for a two-yard touchdown to end the half 17–14. Down 20–17 in the 4th quarter, Manning found running back Dominic Rhodes uncovered for a 17-yard touchdown pass that would put the Colts up 24–20 for the rest of the game. It was Manning's fourth game-winning drive (35th of his career) of the season. He completed 21 of 40 for 240 yards and three touchdowns (the 50th game of his career with 3+ touchdown passes). It was the first time the Colts have won in Pittsburgh since 1968 (12 straight losses before this win).[215] Against Houston, Manning passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns while leading five consecutive scoring drives in a 33–27 victory, the third in a row for the Colts.[216] Manning won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season (18th time, career).[217]

At San Diego, Manning threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, in a 23–20 victory. The interception snapped a career-best streak of 140 pass attempts without an interception. After the Chargers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game, Manning led the game-winning drive by completing a 14-yard pass to Marvin Harrison on 4th and inches at midfield. Adam Vinateri kicked the winning 51-yard field goal three plays later. It was Manning's 5th game-winning drive this season.[218] Manning passed for a season-low 125 yards at Cleveland, but the Colts won their 5th straight game, by a final of 10–6.[219]

In a 35–3 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals, Manning threw three touchdown passes, while completing 26-of-32 passes for 277 yards. It marked the 11th straight season Manning had thrown at least 20 touchdown passes, the second longest streak ever.[220] Against the 0–13 Detroit Lions, the Colts found themselves in a 21–21 game in the 4th quarter. Manning led his sixth game-winning drive of the season and the Colts pulled away 31–21. It marked their seventh straight win, seventh straight season with 10+ wins, and they became the only team in NFL history to have a winning streak of at least seven games in five straight seasons. Manning completed 28-of-37 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown.[221]

Needing a win to clinch the 5th seed in the playoffs, Manning had one of his best career performances in Jacksonville on Thursday Night Football. He completed his first 17 passes of the game. In addition to completing his last 6 against Detroit, Manning's 23 straight completions fell one shy of the NFL record (Donovan McNabb – 24). The Colts trailed 14–0 in the first half and 24–14 to start the fourth quarter. Manning led his seventh fourth quarter win of the season and the Colts put the game away with a defensive touchdown for a 31–24 victory to clinch a seventh consecutive playoff berth. Manning completed 29-of-34 passes (85.7%) for 364 yards and three touchdowns. It increased his NFL record streak of seasons with 25 touchdown passes to 11. Manning and the Colts tied an NFL record by winning three games in a season in which they trailed by at least 14 points.[222] For his efforts, Manning won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in the 2008 season. It was the 19th time he has won the award, passing Dan Marino for the most all-time since the award was originated in 1984.[223] He also was selected as the FedEx Air Player of the Week. With the playoff seed secured, Manning only played the opening drive in a shutout against the division-leading Titans in Week 17. He completed all seven of his passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, extending his NFL record to nine seasons with 4,000 yards passing, and also extended the record to a sixth straight season he led the Colts to at least 12 wins.[224] At the end of the 2008 season, Manning was named NFL MVP for the 3rd time, tying Brett Favre for the most MVP awards in NFL history.[225]

The day following the MVP award, the Colts played their 2007 nemesis, the Chargers, in their wild-card playoff game. Down 14–10 at the half, Manning put the Colts ahead 17–14 in the third quarter as he completed a 72-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne. However, the Chargers tied the game in the fourth quarter as kicker Nate Kaeding nailed a 22-yard field goal. When San Diego won the overtime coin toss, they scored a touchdown on the first possession, ending the Colts' season.[226]

2009 season: fourth MVP and second Super Bowl appearance

Under new head coach Jim Caldwell, Manning started the 2009 season with a victory by throwing for 301 yards.[227] In Week 2, Manning led his 29th fourth quarter comeback (38th career game-winning drive) by throwing for 303 yards and two touchdown passes, despite only having the ball for 14:53, the lowest time of possession for a winning team in the NFL since they began tracking the statistic in 1977.[228] Manning was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for the fourth time in his career in September.[229] Against the Seattle Seahawks Manning passed for 353 yards and two touchdowns for his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing game set a new franchise record.[230]

Against the Houston Texans in Week 9, Manning became the first quarterback to pass for over 40,000 yards in a decade.[231] He threw a career-high 25 passes in the first quarter (most in any opening quarter since 1991), and had a career-high 40 pass attempts in the first half. He set a franchise record for most 300-yard passing games in a season with his seventh 300-yard effort of the season (also an NFL record through the first eight games of a season[232]). In Week 10, a 35–34 victory over the New England Patriots, he was 28 of 44 for 327 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.[233] His performance against the Patriots earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[234] Two weeks later, against Houston, Manning claimed his 34th comeback win in the fourth quarter, tying him with John Elway and Johnny Unitas for the second most in NFL history.[235] On Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Manning won his 23rd consecutive regular season game breaking Jim McMahon's NFL record of 22 straight wins with the Chicago Bears from 1984 to 1987.[236] At the end of the regular season Manning was awarded his fourth MVP, breaking the NFL record for most MVPs by a single player. He was also selected to the AP All-Pro team for the fifth time in his career.[237] He finished the regular season tying his then NFL-record with seven game-winning drives in 2009.

In the AFC Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens, Manning threw two touchdown passes late in the first half to build a 17–3 halftime lead. He completed 30 passes for 246 yards in leading his eighth straight victory over the Ravens.[238] In the AFC Championship against New York Jets, Manning overcame a 17–6 deficit late in the second quarter to lead the Colts to 24 unanswered points in a 30–17 win. The 11-point comeback was the third largest in a championship game. Manning set a playoff record with his seventh 300-yard passing game in the postseason.[239] In Super Bowl XLIV against New Orleans Saints, Manning led the Colts to a 10–0 lead after their two first quarter drives, throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon to cap off a 96-yard drive (tied for longest in Super Bowl history). After running just six plays in the second quarter, the Colts led 10–6 at halftime. The Saints recovered an onside kick to start the second half and took their first lead, 13–10. Manning led a go ahead touchdown drive to regain the lead. Leading 17–16 at the start of the fourth quarter, placekicker Matt Stover missed a 51-yard field goal for the Colts. The Saints scored the go ahead touchdown and two-point conversion to take a 24–17 lead with 5:42 left. Manning took over and moved the Colts to the Saints' 31-yard line. Facing a 3rd & 5 with 3:24 left, his pass intended for Reggie Wayne was intercepted by Tracy Porter, who returned it 74 yards for a critical touchdown and a 31–17 Saints lead. Manning drove the Colts down to the 5-yard line in the last minute, but his 4th & goal pass was dropped by Reggie Wayne at the goal line. The Saints won their first Super Bowl in franchise history, dropping Manning to 9–9 in the postseason and a 1–1 record in the Super Bowl. Manning passed for 333 yards on 31-of-45 attempts passing, with one touchdown and one interception.[240]

2010 season

In a season-opening loss in Houston, Manning set career highs with 57 pass attempts and 40 completions, throwing for three touchdowns and 433 yards, the fourth highest opening-weekend total ever.[241] In his third game, Manning passed for 325 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, marking the first time since 1960 a quarterback began a season with three consecutive games of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.[242][243] Against the Kansas City Chiefs, Manning failed to throw a touchdown for the first time in 2010, but led the Colts on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter (45th of his career) to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season.[244] In Week 6 against the Washington Redskins, he passed for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Including the playoffs, that was 68 career games with 300+ yards passing, moving him ahead of Dan Marino (67) for the most in NFL history.[245] Week 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles marked his 200th consecutive regular season start.[246]

Against the New England Patriots, Manning passed for 396 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions, the second time Manning threw four touchdowns in a game that resulted in a loss. This broke a tie with Dan Marino for second-most all-time.[247] The next week resulted in the largest margin of defeat at home in his NFL career, 36–14 to the San Diego Chargers.[248] Against the Tennessee Titans, he went over 4,000 yards passing for the 11th time in a season, and tied Dan Marino with his 63rd regular season game with 300+ yards passing. Manning was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this game.[249] The Colts ended up winning the AFC South for the seventh time in eight years, and Manning became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to nine consecutive postseason berths (2002–2010). It was the 208th consecutive regular season start of his career, breaking Gene Upshaw's record. For the season, Manning finished with an NFL-record 450 completions on 679 attempts (third most in history), and a career-high 4,700 yards passing.[250] The season ended in a 17–16 defeat to the New York Jets in the Wild Card Round of playoffs.[251]

In 2010, Manning was chosen as the 14th-smartest athlete in sports by Sporting News.[252] On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011, he was chosen as the second best player in the league by his peers.[253]

2011 season: lost season

To me, he's the greatest of all time. He's a friend of mine, and someone that I always watch and admire, because he always wants to improve, he always wants to get better, and he doesn't settle for anything less than the best. So, when you watch the best and you're able to learn from the best, hopefully that helps me get better.

Tom Brady, on Peyton Manning in 2011.[254]

The Colts placed their franchise tag on Manning on February 15, 2011.[255] On July 30, 2011, the Colts signed Manning to a 5-year, $90 million contract after negotiations in which he made it clear that he did not need to be the highest-paid player in the NFL.[256]

After a May 23 neck surgery, Manning could not use the Colts' facilities for practice and workouts due to the NFL lockout. Reluctant to have witnesses to his recovery, he used the Colorado Rockies baseball team's trainers at Coors Field in Denver. Manning was unable to complete his throwing motion, and his arm strength had significantly diminished. Based on an MRI, doctors told him in the late summer that he needed spinal fusion surgery and that at his age they could not guarantee his return to the NFL.[257] On September 7, the Colts officially ruled Manning out for the season opener against Houston, ending his consecutive starts streak of 208 games (227 including playoffs); the team signed Kerry Collins out of retirement and named him interim starting quarterback.[258] After seeking other opinions, Manning had the second surgery on September 8.[259]

Manning stated that while he did intend to play during the 2011 season, he would not "fight" the front office to stay off injured reserve if his roster spot was needed. Manning started practicing throwing footballs again in mid-December, with teammate Joseph Addai even claiming his passes looked "game ready."[260] Ultimately, Manning did not play a single game in the 2011 season, and the Colts went 2–14 without him; only the third season since Manning was a rookie that the Colts did not win at least 10 games.[261]

With the Colts having the first overall pick in the upcoming 2012 Draft (which contained highly rated quarterback Andrew Luck out of Stanford), and with Manning due a $28 million roster bonus, he was released on March 7, 2012. Earlier, the Colts had dismissed vice-chairman Bill Polian (who in his previous capacity as general manager had drafted Manning), general manager Chris Polian, and head coach Jim Caldwell, as a precursor to the rebuilding of the team.[262]

In an emotional press conference, Manning told Colts fans, "Thank you for letting me be your quarterback."[263][264][265] Upon his release, Colts owner Jim Irsay announced that no Colt will ever wear the No. 18 jersey again, and it was formally retired on March 18, 2016.[266] On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2012, he was ranked 50th by his peers despite not playing in the 2011 season.[267]

Denver Broncos

As one of the most highly sought-after free agents, Manning selected the Denver Broncos after meeting with John Elway, a retired Broncos Hall-of-Famer quarterback who was now the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, and Broncos head coach John Fox.[268] Manning reached an agreement with the Broncos on a five-year contract worth $96 million on March 20, 2012.[269][270] Although the #18 is retired in honor of quarterback Frank Tripucka, he gave Manning permission to wear it.[271]

2012 season

On August 9, 2012, Manning made his first appearance as a Bronco in a preseason game against the Chicago Bears, where he completed four of his seven passes for 44 yards, and was intercepted once by Bears safety Major Wright.[272]

Manning made his regular season debut as a Denver Bronco in the prime time game on the first Sunday of the 2012 season, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the game, Manning completed 19-of-26 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He posted a 129.2 QB rating in the 31–19 win, and made history in the third quarter when he connected with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on a 71-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown was Manning's first in the NFL with a team other than the Colts, and marked the 400th of his career, making him the third quarterback, after Dan Marino and Brett Favre, to accomplish the feat and the fastest of the three to reach that mark.[273] In a Week 6 game against the San Diego Chargers, he was 24 of 30 for 309 yards, three passing touchdowns, and one interception in the 35–24 victory. In the game, the Broncos trailed 24–0 at halftime and Manning led the Broncos to 35 unanswered points.[274] His performance against the Chargers gave him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, his first since coming to Denver.[275] Despite the preseason concerns about his recovery, by late October, ESPN stated that Manning "has silenced the critics" about his arm strength.[276] Manning was later named to the 2013 Pro Bowl, his twelfth.[277] In Week 17, a 38–3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, he was 23 of 29 for 304 yards and three touchdowns to close out the regular season.[278] He earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Chiefs.[279]

Overall, he finished the 2012 season with 4,659 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.[280]

The Broncos made the playoffs and earned a first-round bye, but lost 38–35 in double overtime to Baltimore, who went on to win Super Bowl XLVII that season.[281][282]

On February 2, 2013, Manning was awarded the AP National Football League Comeback Player of the Year Award[283] and was named a first-team All-Pro selection, in addition to finishing second in MVP voting.[284] On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013, he was ranked as the second best player in the NFL by his peers.[285]

2013 season: fifth MVP and third Super Bowl appearance

On the opening game of the 2013 NFL season, Manning became one of only six players in NFL history to throw seven touchdowns in a game, doing so against the defending Super Bowl XLVII champions, the Baltimore Ravens.[286]

He added to this feat by not throwing an interception, tying Y. A. Tittle as one of the only two players to have a 7:0 touchdown to interception ratio in a single game (although the Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles later matched that feat in Week 9 of the same season against the Oakland Raiders).[287] His historic performance against the Ravens gave him AFC Offensive Player of the Week Honors.[288]

Against the Oakland Raiders in Week 3, Manning broke the record for most touchdown passes in the first three games of a season after throwing 12, surpassing Tom Brady's 2011 record.[289] His performance against the Raiders gave him his second AFC Offensive Player of the Week nod in three weeks.[290] In Week 5, Manning threw his first interception of the season, in a win against the Dallas Cowboys. He was intercepted by cornerback Morris Claiborne. Two weeks later, Manning returned to Indianapolis for the first time in the regular season since being released by the Colts. In an emotional pregame ceremony, the Colts showed a tribute video to Manning.[291] In his first game back at Indianapolis, he was 29 of 49 for 386 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception but was sacked a season-high four times as the Broncos fell 39–33.[292]

The Broncos bounced back from the loss with a 45–21 victory over the Washington Redskins in which Manning had 354 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and three interceptions.[293] In the next game, a 28–20 victory over the San Diego Chargers, he had one of his most efficient games of the season with 330 passing yards and four passing touchdowns for a 135.2 quarterback rating.[294] The next week, he had 323 passing yards and a season-low one passing touchdown as the Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 27–17.[295]

The next game for the Broncos was a huge showdown with the New England Patriots. The Broncos raced out to a 24–0 lead at halftime. However, the Patriots came back and won 34–31 in overtime. In the loss, Manning had a season-low 150 passing yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception.[296] After the tough loss, the Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the following game by a score of 35–28. He had 403 passing yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions in the victory.[297]

He followed that up with 397 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in the 51–28 victory over the Tennessee Titans.[298] In Week 16, against the Houston Texans, Manning broke Brady's record for most touchdown passes in a season with 51 on a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas.[299][300] For the third time in the 2013 season, he earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[301]

In the Week 17 season finale against the Oakland Raiders, he had 266 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to finish the season with 55 touchdown passes and a league-record 5,477 yards, breaking Drew Brees's mark by one yard.[302] His 450 completions were at the time tied for second most all time. The Broncos scored an NFL record 606 points, becoming the first team ever to eclipse 600 points in a season.[303]

They had more 50-point games in a season than any other team in NFL history, with three. Four Broncos receivers recorded at least ten touchdowns—an NFL record—and Manning set a season record with nine games with four or more touchdown passes.[304]

His 115.1 passer rating ranks fifth all time and he joined Brady as the only two quarterbacks to achieve a passer rating of 110.0 or higher in more than one season. The Broncos went on to win their Divisional Round playoff game against the San Diego Chargers by a score of 24–17.[305]

In another postseason meeting between Manning and Brady, the Broncos defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship by a score of 26-16. Manning was 32-of-43 for 400 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in the victory.[306] Manning became the third starting quarterback to reach the Super Bowl two different teams, after Craig Morton and Kurt Warner.[307]

In Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning's Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 43–8.[308] Manning was up against the Seahawks' young starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who idolized Manning and attended one of Manning's passing camps as a teenager, and later met Manning at a Broncos pre-draft interview.[309][310] The Seahawks' number one ranked defense proved too much for the Broncos' number one ranked offense to overcome, while the Broncos' defense also struggled due to injuries. The Broncos' first play from scrimmage set the tone for the game. While Manning was stepping forward to call an audible, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball too early and it flew past Manning's head into the end zone, where running back Knowshon Moreno downed it for a safety. Manning set a Super Bowl record with 34 completions (broken by Tom Brady the following year in Super Bowl XLIX), but the record-setting offense did not record a first down until the second quarter, and did not score any points until the final seconds of the third quarter. While Manning threw one touchdown pass and one successful two-point conversion, he also threw two costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Smith in the second quarter.[311]

On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014, he was ranked as the best player in the league by his peers.[312]

2014 season: NFL all-time leader in passing touchdowns

On August 28, 2014, Manning was fined $8,268 for taunting D. J. Swearinger during a preseason game against the Houston Texans.[313] With the Broncos' win in their opening game of the 2014 NFL season against the Colts, Manning became, along with Brett Favre, one of only two starting quarterbacks in NFL history who have beaten all 32 teams.[314] In the next game against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had his most efficient game of the season by going 21-of-26 for 242 passing yards and three passing touchdowns for a 143.9 passer rating in the 24–17 victory.[315] The next game was a Super Bowl XLVIII rematch with the Seattle Seahawks. In the 26–20 overtime loss, he had 303 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one interception.[316] On October 5, 2014, in a stellar performance against the Arizona Cardinals, Manning tied his career-high with a 86-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, threw his 500th career touchdown pass to Julius Thomas, and also tied Dan Marino for the most 400-yard games by a quarterback.[317][318]

On October 19, 2014, against the San Francisco 49ers on NBC Sunday Night Football, Manning threw his 509th career touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, passing Brett Favre to become the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns.[319] His historic touchdown was part of a 318-yard, four-touchdown passing performance where he earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the 27th and final time in his career.[320][321] Overall, he finished the 2014 season with 4,727 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.[322] By the end of the regular season, Manning would be selected to his 14th Pro Bowl appearance, tying him with Tony Gonzalez, Bruce Matthews, and Merlin Olsen for most Pro Bowl selections in a career.[323] The Broncos finished with a 12–4 record and earned a first-round bye.[324] However, his season ended after the Broncos lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to his former team, the Colts, 24–13.[325] On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015 list, he finished as the fifth best player ranked by his peers.[326]

2015 season: final season and second Super Bowl championship

After much speculation, Manning announced in the offseason that he would return for his 18th season in the NFL. In the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Manning's play seemed to have deteriorated, going 24–40 for 175 yards and one interception, but a pick-six by cornerback Aqib Talib and late interception by Darian Stewart aided the Broncos in their 19–13 victory.[327] In a Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, he passed for 256 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception as the Broncos won 31–24.[328] In the next game, a 24–12 victory over the Detroit Lions, he passed for 324 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception for a season-high 101.7 passer rating.[329] On November 1, against the Green Bay Packers, he finished with a season-high 340 passing yards and an interception in the dominant 29–10 victory.[330] The Broncos got off to a dominant 7–0 start to the season; however, the streak ended in a loss at Indianapolis, losing 24–27.[331] During that winning streak, and the loss in Indianapolis, Manning played better, putting up over 250 yards in six of the seven games, and he threw nine touchdowns.[332] However, he never had a game without an interception, bringing his 8-game TD–INT ratio to 9–13, and the Broncos needed a hardworking defense to contribute for victories.[333]

In Week 10, in the second divisional game against Kansas City, the game's biggest highlight was Manning breaking Brett Favre's record for career passing yards with a four-yard pass to running back Ronnie Hillman in the first quarter.[334] Despite the accomplishment, however, Manning went 5-for-20 for 35 yards and four interceptions with a 0.0 passer rating before head coach Gary Kubiak benched him during the third quarter. Brock Osweiler filled in for Manning for the rest of the game as the Broncos lost 29–13.[335] A day later, sources said that Manning had suffered a bout of plantar fasciitis. It was later announced that this injury would keep him out of Week 11, marking the first time Peyton had missed a game in a season he played. Osweiler replaced Manning and performed well in a 17–15 win over the Chicago Bears, leading to questions about whether Manning would retain his role when healthy in a Week 12 showdown against the New England Patriots.[336] The next day, head coach Gary Kubiak, citing Manning's injuries, announced that Osweiler would start against New England.[337] On December 15, it was announced that Osweiler would make his fifth consecutive start, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though Manning had returned to practice and the Broncos had gone seven straight quarters without scoring a touchdown on offense.[338][339] Overall, the Broncos went 4–2 in six games without Manning, giving them an 11–4 record heading into the final week of the regular season.[340]

On December 27, 2015, Al Jazeera America released a report conducted by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit investigating professional athletes' use of Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) which named Manning, among other prominent athletes, as having received illegal drugs from Charles Sly, a pharmacist who had worked at the Guyer Anti-Aging Clinic in Indianapolis during the fall of 2011.[341] In July 2016, the NFL cleared Manning of the allegations and announced that it had found no evidence to support the claims.[342]

Manning was listed as active for the Week 17 regular season finale against the San Diego Chargers, but for the first time since his freshman year at college, he was listed as a backup.[343] In the third quarter, with the Broncos down 13–7, Manning entered the game in relief of Osweiler, who had been intercepted twice and fumbled once. The Broncos went on to beat the Chargers, 27–20, and secure the AFC West and the top seed in the AFC.[344][345] Despite the Broncos' 12–4 record (and Manning's 8–2 record in games that he played in), Manning had the worst season statistically of his career, as he threw a career-low nine touchdown passes and 17 interceptions in just 10 games, and posting a quarterback rating of 67.9, the lowest rating of his career, and first time he had a rating below 84 since his rookie season.[346] Manning's 59.8 completion percentage was the second lowest of his career, only behind his rookie season. Manning's 17 interceptions were second to Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who threw 18 interceptions but started all 16 games.[347]

The Broncos, by virtue of having the AFC's #1 seed, earned home field advantage throughout the NFL playoffs. The Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round to advance to the AFC Championship game to host the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. Manning was 21-of-37 for 222 with no touchdowns or interceptions.[348] It was the 17th, and ultimately final, meeting between Manning and his longtime rival Tom Brady. Despite a late comeback attempt from the Patriots, the Broncos won 20–18 to advance to Super Bowl 50. Manning threw for 176 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in the win.[349]

On February 7, 2016, the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24–10 in Super Bowl 50 as the Broncos' defense shut down the heavily favored Panthers' top-ranked offense and regular season MVP Cam Newton. Manning finished the game 13-of-23 for 141 yards with one interception while being sacked five times, scoring his only passing points with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter when he connected with wide receiver Bennie Fowler for a two-point conversion, which ended up being the final pass of his career. Manning became the oldest starting quarterback to both play in and win a Super Bowl.[350] Manning also became the first quarterback to start two Super Bowls with multiple franchises, with different head coaches each time (Dungy, Caldwell, Fox, and Kubiak) and the first quarterback to lead two different franchises to a Super Bowl victory.[351][352] The victory gave Manning his 200th overall win including regular season and playoffs, making him at the time the starting quarterback with the most combined regular season and postseason wins in NFL history, snapping a tie with Brett Favre.[353]

"The Manning Bowl"

Peyton and Eli Manning played against each other three times in their professional careers, not counting Pro Bowls or the preseason. These encounters were colloquially dubbed "The Manning Bowl",[354] and Peyton's teams (twice with the Colts, once with the Broncos) held a 3–0 record over Eli's team (three games with the New York Giants). The first Manning Bowl was held on September 10, 2006, and Peyton's Colts defeated Eli's Giants by a score of 26–21.[355] The second Manning Bowl was held on September 19, 2010, with Peyton and the Colts besting Eli's team again by a score of 38–14.[356] The third and final Manning Bowl took place on September 15, 2013, and Peyton and the Broncos beat Eli's Giants, 41–23.[357]


Manning announced his retirement, after 18 seasons, on March 7, 2016.[358][359] Manning's final words of his retirement speech were, "I've fought a good fight. I've finished my football race and after 18 years, it's time. God bless all of you and God bless football."[360][361]

After 18 seasons with the NFL, Manning received the 2016 ESPY Icon Award.[362] He won nine total ESPY Awards during his career.[363]

On October 7, 2017, in a ceremony attended by hundreds of fans, the Colts unveiled a bronze statue of Manning outside its Lucas Oil Stadium. Manning was also inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor and became the first player to have his jersey retired by the Colts since the team moved to Indianapolis.[364][365]

NFL career statistics

Led the league
NFL record
Team won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high
Regular season
2011 IND Did not play due to injury


Career awards and records

NFL awards

Additionally, Manning has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month a record eight times[374] (9/2003, 11/2004, 10/2006, 9/2009, 9/2012, 10/2012, 9/2013, 12/2013) and Offensive Player of the Week a then-record 27 times[375] (since broken by Tom Brady).[376]

NFL records

Manning holds a number of individual career records:

  • Most career passing yards: 71,940
  • Most career touchdown passes: 539
  • First quarterback to reach 200 career wins (playoffs and regular season)[377]
  • Most touchdown passes, season: 55 (2013)
  • Most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards: 14 (1999–2004, 2006–2010, 2012–2014)[378]
  • Most passing yards, season: 5,477 (2013)
  • Most games with 40+ pass attempts in a season: 10 (2010)[379]
  • Most consecutive seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes: 13 (1998–2010)[82]
  • Most consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes: 13 (1998–2010)[378]
  • Most games with a perfect passer rating, career: 4 (includes 1 playoff game)[162]
  • Most consecutive games started to open a career: 208[82][380]
  • Most consecutive games with at least 2 touchdown passes: 13 (games 1–13, 2004)[381]
  • Most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes: 5 (games 7–11, 2004)[382]
  • Most games with at least 4 touchdown passes, season: 9 (2013)[382]
  • Most regular season games with at least 4 touchdown passes, career: 25[383][384]
  • Most games with at least 5 touchdown passes, career: 8 (includes 1 playoff game)[385]
  • Only QB with at least 6 touchdown passes in three games[386]
  • One of eight QBs with at least 7 touchdown passes in a game
  • Highest career passing TDs/game average (min. 150 TD passes): 2.046 TDs/game[82]
  • Highest completion percentage by a QB in one month in NFL history (min. 75 attempts): 81.8% (December 2008)[82]
  • Most career games with a completion percentage of 70% or higher (min. 10 attempts): 66[387]
  • Most consecutive regular season wins as a starter: 23 (2008–2009)
  • Most seasons with 10+ wins as a starter (regular season only): 14 (1999–2000, 2002–2010, 2012–2014)
  • Most seasons with 12+ wins as a starter (regular season only): 11 (1999, 2003–2009, 2012–2014)
  • Only QB with seven straight seasons of 12+ wins as a starter(2003–2009)[388]
  • Only QB to lead five consecutive 4th quarter comeback wins (games 7–11, 2009)[389]
  • First QB to defeat the other 31 teams in the regular season (Tom Brady did this later the same day, and Brett Favre did it the following week)[390]
  • Most wins as a starting QB in a decade, regular season: 115 (2000s)[391]
  • Most AP NFL MVP Awards: 5 (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)

Personal life

Manning was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Olivia (née Williams) and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. He is the brother of two-time Super Bowl Champion, Eli Manning.[392] Some have described the Mannings as football's "royal family".[393][394][395][396][397]

Manning married his wife, Ashley, in Memphis on St. Patrick's Day, 2001. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Ashley was introduced to him by her parents' next-door neighbor the summer before Manning's freshman year in college. Peyton and wife Ashley have twins, a son, Marshal Williams, and a daughter, Mosley Thompson, born on March 31, 2011.[398]

Manning is a Christian. At age 13, he said, "I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since." Manning said his priorities ranked in order are ", family, friends, and football." Manning said he prays every night and before games and added, "I hope (and pray) I don't do too many things that displease Him before I get to Heaven myself. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you're committed to God in that way."[399]

Manning reportedly memorized the Colts' playbook within a week after being drafted,[75] and in 2012 was able to precisely recall the details and timing of a specific play he had used at Tennessee 16 years earlier.[400]

During the summer, Archie, Peyton, Eli, and eldest sibling Cooper run the Manning Passing Academy, a five-day camp which aims to improve the offensive skills of quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.[401] In addition to the Mannings, the camp has included many prominent players from football as coaches, such as Colts wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.[402]

Manning, along with his father Archie, co-authored a book titled, Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy, which was released in 2000. The book covers Archie's and Cooper's lives and careers, and Manning's life and career up to the time that the book was released, and examines football from both Archie's and Manning's points-of-view.[403] Manning wrote about Jamie Ann Naughright, who had accused him of sexual harassment, stating that she had a "vulgar mouth". He described his conduct towards her as "crude, maybe, but harmless".[404][405][406][407] The trainer sued for defamation, resulting in an undisclosed settlement in 2003 and a court-ordered gag on Manning and Naughright from ever talking about the settlement or each other again.[405][407][408]

Mark Kiszla, a sports columnist for the Denver Post, in a column about Manning's future plans, said that Manning's net worth "is estimated to be in excess of $150 million" and "That's not enough money to buy an NFL franchise by himself, although an ownership group that included Manning as president with a financial stake in the team would be led by a brilliant football mind."[409] He has donated over $8,000 to Republican politicians, among them Fred Thompson, Bob Corker and former President George W. Bush.[410] During the 2016 presidential race, Manning contributed to the campaign of Jeb Bush.[411] On October 26, 2012, Manning purchased 21 Papa John's Pizza stores, all in Colorado.[412] He sold his stakes in the stores in February 2018.[413]

Other work

Manning has been credited with helping to improve the image of the city of Indianapolis.[414] A curator at the Indiana State Museum observed that "There is no Super Bowl held here without Peyton. There is no Lucas Oil Stadium without Peyton. Without Peyton, the Colts would probably be in L.A. right now."[415] He has become one of the NFL's most marketable players, appearing in several television and printed advertisements for some of the NFL's biggest sponsors.[416][417][418]

Manning hosted Saturday Night Live on March 24, 2007, his 31st birthday. The episode earned the show's highest household rating in more than 10 months in the metered markets.[419] He also appeared on SNL in 2008 and on the 2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special.

On May 27, 2007, Manning waved the green flag to begin the 91st Indianapolis 500.[420] On February 18, 2018, he drove the pace car during the 2018 Daytona 500.[421] Before the latter, he made a guest appearance on Fox NASCAR's pre-race show alongside race pole-sitter and fellow Nationwide Insurance spokesman Alex Bowman.[422]

In 2009, Manning guest-voiced (with his brothers, Eli and Cooper) on an episode of The Simpsons called "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" in which Bart dreams of having a baby brother and sees such famous brothers as The Marx Brothers, The Blues Brothers, The Wright Brothers, The Mario Brothers, and The Manning Brothers.[423] Manning also voiced the character 'Guapo' in the 2017 motion picture, Ferdinand.[424]

Manning hosted the 2017 ESPY Awards on July 12, 2017.[425]


Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning started his own charity called 'the Peyback Foundation'. The Peyback Foundation's mission is to help disadvantaged kids, and focuses its efforts in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana.[426] For his work with this foundation, Manning received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[427]

Manning, along with his brother Eli, volunteered their assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Among the tasks performed, the Mannings assisted in the delivery of 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers, and pillows to the people of New Orleans.[428]

In September 2007, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children's hospital to "Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent." Manning and his wife made a donation of an undisclosed amount to St. Vincent's and have had a relationship with the hospital since his arrival in Indianapolis.[429][430]

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tom Brady
NFL record for passing touchdowns in a single season
Preceded by
Brett Favre
Total touchdown passes in the NFL

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