Manning gets chance to lift Super Bowl cloud

Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:32pm EST
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(Reuters) - Peyton Manning can lift one of the few clouds hanging over his career and confirm his status as one of the gridiron's greats after guiding the Denver Broncos into the Super Bowl with a win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

There is no disputing the four-time National Football League most valuable player's Hall of Fame credentials, but with just one Super Bowl ring where he ranks among the sport's best is open to debate.

Two seasons removed from missing a year due to neck surgeries, Manning produced a campaign for the ages setting a single season marks for touchdown passes (55) and yards (5,477).

With Manning at the controls of Denver's powerhouse offense, the Broncos scored a record 606 points, 161 ahead the next closest pursuer.

Certainly Broncos head coach John Fox, who overcame his own serious health issue, missing a month of the regular season after undergoing heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, knows where his quarterback ranks among the greats following a 26-16 win over the Patriots.

"He's been remarkable, it's unprecedented what he did," said Fox. "A year ago it was a very unusual injury he was coming off of.

"To get where he finished that season and started this year off and to have that kind of season, not just today but all season long, to me is pretty remarkable."

After 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, not even Manning was uncertain how long it would take to recover from his surgery and adjust to a new team.

But after just two years in the Mile High city, Manning has the Broncos back in the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years.   Continued...

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and head coach John Fox celebrate the 26-16 victory against the New England Patriots following the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports