As Peyton Manning continues with what could be his last rodeo, as he told Bill Belichick, it's a good time to take a step back and share an appreciation of the man. We'll do it from a New York Jets perspective because, well, look where you're reading this item.
Anyway, here you go, six thoughts on Manning through a green-colored lens:
1. In his legendary career, Manning has appeared in 26 postseason games (13-13), including a 4-1 mark in conference championship games and one Super Bowl win. His playoff resume exceeds that of the entire Jets franchise, which began in 1963. The Jets have played 25 postseason games (12-13), with a 1-4 record in conference title games and one Super Bowl win.
2. The Jets brought out the best and worst in Manning in the month of January. In the 2009 AFC title game, he ruined Rex Ryan's Super Bowl dream, posting a 123.6 passer rating -- the fourth highest in his playoff career. He did it by passing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. Seven years earlier, in the '02 wild-card round, Manning was dreadful in a 41-0 loss to Herm Edwards' Jets. In bitter cold, he completed only 14-of-31 for 137 yards, two interceptions and a career-low postseason rating (31.2). In the regular season, he was 8-4 against the Jets, beating five different coaches.
3. Manning has 539 career touchdown passes, a league record. The four most prolific passers in Jets history -- Joe Namath, Ken O'Brien, Richard Todd and Chad Pennington -- have a combined 486.
4. Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in 1998 and has started 266 regular-season games. The Jets didn't have a first-round pick that year, but they still wound up drafting 12 players -- and those 12 still fell short of Manning's mark for career games. Bill Parcells' 12-man draft combined for only 149 starts, led by Jason Fabini's 129. To be fair, the Jets acquired their own future Hall of Famer that year, Curtis Martin, who cost them a first-round pick in free agency. If you include Martin as part of that draft, it brings the total to 272 starts, barely exceeding Manning.
5. By now, you've probably heard the story about how Manning almost became a Jet, but, hey, it never gets old. Manning flirted with the idea of turning pro in 1997, when the Jets owned the top pick, but he decided to remain at Tennessee for his senior year. His decision crushed Jets Nation. Parcells said he never tried to change Manning's mind, claiming it would've violated a league tampering rule. At the time, Parcells never revealed whether he would've picked Manning. A few years ago, I asked him and he said, "Obviously, we had an interest in a quarterback, so, had he been available, I'm certain he would've been very, very strongly in the mix."
6. When Manning became a free agent in 2012, cut by the Indianapolis Colts, his agent received a phone call from the Jets. At the time, they had Mark Sanchez, but then-general manager Mike Tannenbaum couldn't resist. "It was a quick, cursory call," Tannenbaum told me a few years back. "We had a young quarterback we felt good about, but when a player like Peyton Manning becomes available, you have to check it out. I had a very good sense right away that he knew what he wanted to do."