[UPDATE: So much for that...]
Let’s put Peyton Manning’s season into perspective:
First, Manning returned to the NFL after missing an entire season recovering from having his neck basically reconstructed. Choosing to go another direction, Manning’s longtime employer, the Indianapolis Colts, chose to let their two-time MVP quarterback go.
Essentially, Manning entered 2012 with a future that could not have been any more uncertain.
He signed with the Denver Broncos, an outdoor team that had far fewer offensive weapons than Manning enjoyed as a member of the Colts, and has gradually returned to pro bowl form with what has seemed like effortless rehabilitation. Though he was shaky in his first few weeks, Manning has improved remarkably with each passing week.
Now, after guiding the Broncos to a 13-3 regular season record, Manning is essentially one game away from a rematch with a familiar foe.
If the Broncos can knock off the Ravens this weekend, and Patriots can hold off the Texans, Manning will meet his longtime nemesis, Tom Brady, in the AFC Championship game next weekend.
Such a matchup would yield enough drama to warrant the theme song from Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Has there ever been a greater comeback in sports history than the one Manning is on the verge of completing?
I can’t think of any.