Two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and current Denver Broncos’ General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and 76,273 fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium sprung to their feet and cheered.
Millions of fans watching at home more than likely followed suit. Regardless of team affiliation, every football fan had to join in the celebration and gush with admiration and respect for an incomparable quarterback accomplishing an incredible feat.
With about three minutes remaining in the second quarter of last night’s game between the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, iconic QB Peyton Manning connected with WR Demaryius Thomas on his NFL record setting 509th touchdown pass.
Manning’s 8-yard strike enabled him to surpass Brett Favre as the all-time touchdown leader in NFL history. The 38-year-old Manning needed 246 games to reach this milestone, 56 fewer than Favre.
However, only a few years ago it seemed unlikely that Manning would be able to bask in such a big night. He shared openly, “I’ve discussed with some family and friends recently that [I] certainly didn’t think this would even be a possibility a couple of years ago.”
Amazingly, potential career ending neck surgery cast doubt on the elite QB’s future less than three years ago. However, serious spinal fusion seemed to infuse new life and greater purpose into a QB who had already proven himself over and over again as a winner and indomitable competitor on the football field.
Since returning from surgery, Manning has defied logic, silenced critics and lit up scoreboards. He’s started all 38 games since joining the Broncos and has performed brilliantly, albeit for one blowout Super Bowl loss less than a year ago.
Last night, his record breaking night could not have been better scripted. Playing on Sunday Night Football against a formidable foe, Manning enjoyed an epic moment that may never have happened, but for magnificent medical care, a little luck and the grace of God.
I loved watching the genuine reaction of teammates, coaches, officials, fans and even competitors to Manning’s historic night.
Following Manning’s 509th TD, the surprise game of keep away by Broncos’ receivers Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas served as an exclamation point in paying homage to an exceptional athlete, expertly prepared QB and fun loving teammate.
The Denver receivers proved successful at keeping the ball away from the record breaking QB.
But, their playful game stood in stark contrast to that of opposing teams who’ve been unsuccessful at keeping Manning out of the end zone – now 510 times and counting!
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!