I am honored to be in my 36th year with the Denver Broncos, as many of our readers know.
One of the things about which I am certain is that we only get to control ourselves. We can try real hard, work real hard, be very good and maybe have tremendous compliments thrown our way.
But we never get to control those with whom we work, unless we hired them.
And I have been so fortunate to have worked first of all for 16 years with John Elway during his playing career—every moment of his career as a Bronco.
Not much can be said or added to Elway, who began as the best quarterback prospect since Johnny Unitas, became one of the game’s all-time’s greats, and then ascended into Legend status.
And then he brought Peyton Manning to Denver. Just pause for a second and think of how significant that is—it has only happened once, a Hall of Fame quarterback signing a Hall of Fame quarterback.
What comes after surreal?
It struck me again yesterday when I talked briefly with Peyton in the dining hall—yes, he was here on the players’ day off—of course he was here on the players’ day off—he is Peyton Manning.
What struck me was the good fortune I have had to be able to be around not one but two quarterbacks of this stature.
But it is not just my good fortune—it is that of every single Broncos fan everywhere, from long-time season ticket holders in Denver to a rancher working hard in Montana.
Broncos Country is very fortunate, and the above sentences are just a preamble to Peyton Manning’s latest. What comes below follows the above.
Peyton Manning has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for an NFL-record 24th time, after completing 27 of 42 passes (64.3%) for 462 yards with seven touchdowns (a 141.1 rating) in Denver’s opening week 49-27 win over Baltimore.
Manning became the first player to connect for multiple touchdowns with three different targets in a single game, tossing two scoring passes each to tight end Julius Thomas, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and wide reliever Wes Welker.
His award marks the 24th such award of his career, passing New England quarterback Tom Brady for the most all time, and it is the third time he has earned the honor with Denver.
John Elway won the same award 15 times himself, giving Elway and Manning a combined total of 39 player of the week honors.
Week One featured six QBs throwing for at least 350 yards, the most in a season opening game in NFL history—Manning’s 462 were first.
Week One featured NFL QBs throwing 63 TD passes on Kickoff Weekend, the most combined TDs in any week in NFL history—Manning’s seven were number one.
Week One featured 11 QBs with a passer rating of at least 100, tied for second-most ever on Kickoff Weekend since 1970—Manning’s 141.1 was first.
And with the win over the Ravens Manning became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win at least 12 consecutive regular season games three separate times in a career. Manning’s win streaks of at least 12 regular season games are 23 (with Indianapolis, 2008-09), 13 with Indianapolis (all in 2005), and his current 12-game streak with Denver (2012-13).
His seven TD passes of course tied the NFL single-game NFL record, which goes back to Sid Luckman, who first did it with the Chicago Bears in 1943 shortly after the Bears brought the T-formation into pro football.
Manning joins Y.A. Tittle (1962) as the only two quarterbacks to throw seven touchdown passes without an interception.
The above is a lot to digest, bringing us back to the surreal nature of Bronco fans having been able to watch all this, beginning with the astonishing John Elway in 1983 and continuing now, 30 years later, with the astonishing Peyton Manning.
History is best when both savored later, and enjoyed as it is made.