Game manager, is it a bad word? To many, yes. It's often used as a way of saying, "This guy isn't good, but he's not terrible." It's not exactly a word a quarterback wants to be identified by.
With that being said, after the Broncos 20-18 victory Peyton Manning was, carefully, asked if, between his health issues, the offensive system, the success of the defense, etc. he's "operating" the game differently.
"I think it's probably all of the above," Manning said. "You try to do your part and contribute. . . There's different ways to do that and there's no question it's been a different season, my role has been different, my contributions are different but I'm fortunate and grateful that I have the opportunity to contribute in some way. It's a great honor to be going back to the Super Bowl."
Manning is self-aware and the Broncos are aware of what they have. John Elway even used those two words at the top of the story when talking about his quarterback.
“He understands where he is at and what we are trying to do offensively," explained the Broncos Executive VP of Football operations. "He has always been a great game manager, but even more so now.”
Game manager? Maybe. Starting quarterback for a Super Bowl bound team for the fourth time? Definitely.
“Me personally, I think he still has it," wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. "Although the critics say he doesn’t have it. You want to talk about a guy that started the season off 7-0 and is now he is going to the Super Bowl. At age 39 or 40 or 70 or how ever old he is, no matter what, he gets the job done. I am just happy he is my teammate.”
“I’m so proud of him," added head coach Gary Kubiak. "I sit here and reflect on some of the meetings he and I had throughout the course of these last 10 weeks and some of the conversations we had. To sit there right there and talk about the opportunity we have here in two weeks -- I’m just so proud of him. He worked hard to get back. I knew about three weeks ago or four weeks ago through a discussion we had that he was ready to come back and lead this football team, and he’s done a tremendous job.”
The road has been tumultuous, to say the least, but Peyton Manning has managed his way back to another Super Bowl and now he's managed the opportunity to ride off into an orange and blue sunset. How's that for management?