Super Bowl XLVIII appears to be the classic match-up of the “irresistible force” versus the “immovable object.” The Denver Broncos high powered offense will face the amazing defensive unit of the Seattle Seahawks. In most cases, the “irresistible force” seldom wins against a great defense. After all, isn’t the real key to winning football games having a great kicking game and a great defense? Maybe so, but the Broncos with Peyton Manning calling the shots is not your average everyday “irresistible force.”
Manning was absolutely brilliant in Sunday’s AFC Championship game victory over the New England Patriots. He completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Broncos to a 26-16 win. Pat’s quarterback Tom Brady said the Broncos were totally flawless. They didn’t turn the ball over a single time on Sunday, sending Peyton to the third Super Bowl of his illustrious career.
While Denver was dismantling New England, the Seahawks were beating the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 to advance to Super Sunday. The Seahawks held the 49ers offense to a mere 153 yards through the air in gaining the win. The odds makers have listed the Broncos as an early favorite in the game which will be played for the first time in a cold weather climate; in an outdoor stadium. (New York City)
For the life of me, I can’t believe that fans and the media are still looking for ways to prove that Peyton Manning is something much less than he is. Last week, in the days leading up to the game, it was “Manning versus Brady.” The last time I checked, football was a team sport and could never be construed as a one-on-one contest. Yesterday and today, the media is backing away a bit. Some are saying Manning’s legacy is intact and he is indeed the greatest quarterback ever. I agree wholeheartedly.
The “Manning versus Brady” concept reminds me of the comparisons almost fifty years ago when the great Johnny Unitas was always being compared to the great Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers. They were no doubt the top two quarterbacks of their era, but a few years ago ever Bart Starr said that Unitas was the best ever. When Johnny U. finally hung up his high top cleats for good following the 1972 season, he owned every passing record known to man; single season or career. When Starr led the Packers to wins in the first two Super Bowls, the Colts were very good, but failed to make a Super Sunday date. When Super Bowl I was played in 1967, Unitas was 36 years old. He had already won two NFL Championships in 1958 and again in 1959, yet the naysayers said, “he couldn’t win the big one.” Unitas played in as many Super Bowls as Starr later in his career, winning one and losing one.
As good as Peyton Manning has become, I am still tempted to place John Unitas ahead of him as the greatest ever. However, I’m not that hard core. I have said it before; Peyton Manning is simply the greatest quarterback of all-time; period, end of discussion. It doesn’t matter if the Broncos win or lose on February 2nd , Manning’s legacy is cast in stone.
I overheard one football commentator say this week,” When Manning takes the field, he gets everybody’s best shot; the other team, the officials and his own team. He makes everyone play better.”
That’s another reason why he’s the greatest ever.
Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.
His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.
He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.
In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.
To contact Randy: firstname.lastname@example.org