As good as Peyton Manning is, even the biggest stan couldn't have guessed he would obliterate the Ravens with seven touchdowns like he did last night. It was a great sight to see (except for hardcore Ravens fans. That was tragic), but Archie Manning is just happy to see him play football again. That's because there was a time he thought he'd never be able to compete in the NFL again.
Peyton had surgery work done on his neck that forced him to sit out for the entire 2011, his last season with the Colts. The Bronco quarterback was only limited to a 10-yard lob during rehab, and after a lack of progress the Mannnings were worried about more than if he was ever going to return to football:
Over a year's time there...one surgery after the other, as his parents, Olivia and I, we kind of quit thinking about football. We were just worried about Peyton's health and getting this thing straightened out.
He finally had the fusion [surgery], they said it worked. Four different doctors cleared him to go back and play...They said he can go play. We didn't know how he could play at that position. I remember when he first started throwing, I mean, it was a 10-yard lob and you just don't know. And you wonder, 'Gosh, can he get back where he can throw in an NFL football game?'
He came back being able to do more than simple "throw." He led Denver to its best season record (13-3) since 2005, won Comeback Player of the Year, and—last night—made Joe Flacco's contract look mighty suspect. Archie said Peyton's arm strength isn't what it used to be, but the Broncos are more than happy with the pros than worried about that one con.