Peyton Manning’s “legacy” is just fine. And if he had won this Super Bowl, it would still be roughly what it was coming in. He was/is one of the greatest passers in history, not one of the greatest playoff quarterbacks necessarily, but he has been in three Super Bowls and was/is arguably the defining quarterback of his era in terms of running a passing offense. Tom Brady has been to five, won three and has comparable stats (passer rating, completion percentage, plus a better interception rate) to Manning’s.
Manning was asked in the postgame whether Sunday’s result was “embarrassing.” He called the question “insulting.” That might be a little strong, but this was from a hurting player who was still sorting through what’d just happened.
Efforts to put him above or below other greats of the game make for interesting conversation, but is it really necessary to posit that Manning is a better quarterback than Brady? Joe Montana? John Elway? If you had first pick in a sandlot game, and they were all standing there yelling, “Me, me, me, me,” is there really one you’d take knowing he was so clearly better than any of the others?