View Full Version : Manning plays the leading man in playoffs

01-07-2005, 04:46 PM
By Adam Schefter
Special to NFL.com

Adam Schefter's commentaries can be seen on Tuesday night's NFL Total Access show on NFL Network. Schefter's around-the-league information reports air Mondays and Fridays.

(Jan. 6, 2005) -- Get out the blue-and-white pom-poms. Put on your No. 18 jersey. Hang up his action posters. Rooting for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is in.

MasterCard's favorite pitchman is now the leading man of these NFL playoffs.

And as he prepares to take on the Broncos and any other team that stands in the way, he can be thinking only one thing:

Cut that meat!

In a season when the butcher himself has made history, Manning also has made all the right moves.

During a primetime game when he could have marched into the NFL record book against the Baltimore Ravens, Manning took a knee, the classiest move of this season.

When he could have celebrated his record the next week against the San Diego Chargers, Manning worried more about the ensuing two-point conversion, the most revealing gesture of the season.

Peyton Manning will try to own the playoffs like he did the regular season.
When he could have taken the day entirely off against the Denver Broncos last Sunday, Manning stood on the sideline and called the first half's offensive plays, another telling sign from this season.

This season has belonged to Manning, and it should remain that way, from now through the first Sunday in February.

Compared to all the other AFC quarterbacks, how do you not root for him?

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady already has two Super Bowl trophies, along with two Super Bowl MVP awards. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has youth and time. Drew Brees has a good enough comeback story to carry into the offseason. Jets quarterback Chad Pennington has fingered the men who write about him while Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer has fingered outspoken critics.

The hope here is that Manning gets to use his finger as well.

But simply, a la Joe Willie Namath, to raise it in the air.