For those who know me, you know that I'm going to watch the Super Bowl tonight featuring the Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks. Though I don't have a dog in this hunt (I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan) I'm intrigued by sports so much that I'm tuning in to learn something from the game. Not because I need to discover more about football, but to watch arguably the Best Quarterback in the history of the NFL, Peyton Manning.
Known as somebody who studies constantly, Manning is a player who is truly a Master of his Craft. He knows the game so well that he doesn't need an offensive coordinator to tell him what play to run next. Manning can identify what the defense is doing and quickly change a play at the line of scrimmage ("Omaha, Omaha") so his offense can successfully execute a play. Something that's very impressive. If you've had the pleasure of watching his games, you know he has been doing this for years and only getting better as time goes by.
Though I truly believe that Manning is a genius, his career wouldn't have flourished without several contributing factors: HARD WORK. Manning is your cliche "first one to get to work, last one to leave". He puts so much time into watching film, throwing passes, working out and everything else to remain at the top of his performing abilities. In a season that has 16 games + 1 or a few more if you make the playoffs, this means he will have a small number of opportunities to showcase his skills. Not a lot of chances if you really think about it. More often than not, you will have to spend A LOT more time preparing and practicing than you will actually performing.
EXPERIENCE. Manning was drafted by the Colts as the #1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft. He went into an organization that was rebuilding, starting over in a sense, and Peyton was going to be the focal point of this process. This sort of team was not one that was suitable for a player of his stature. He didn't complain or gripe, in fact the first 3 times he led his team to the playoffs, they lost. He didn't experience immediate success at all. He went through ups and downs understanding how to win and how to lose. Though nobody likes losing, it's necessary to experience defeat so you can learn from it. Experience truly is the best teacher and I can safely say, it's not fun to hear the word "NO", but after so many times that you hear it, the word "YES" becomes much sweeter. To make my point, this is Manning's 3rd trip to the Super Bowl, winning one and losing one. For such an illustrious career, it's strange to think that this would be his second Super Bowl ring if the Broncos win.
PERSEVERANCE. After spending many years in the Indianapolis Colts organization, they cut ties with Manning. He went through a couple of neck surgeries towards the later years with the colts, so when faced with the tough decision of paying him big bucks or drafting the #1 quarterback in the 2011 draft, Andrew Luck, they gambled on the latter. Peyton still wanted to play so the Denver Broncos stepped up and took a chance on him. Peyton persevered through the last surgery and led his new team to the playoffs, losing on a play that shouldn't have happened. I truly believe this defeat fueled Peyton because his first performance of this season, he treats us all to a 7 touchdown 400+ yard game. He has spent the rest of this year shattering QB records and catapulting this team to being the best offense in the history of the NFL. Quite impressive.
The point of all this is that nobody hands you anything in life, you have to work hard. If you don't experience defeat along the way,you may not know how to handle success. If you watch tonight's game, you will likely be treated to a very good game (#1 offense vs #1 defense), and some good musical entertainment. Most of all, you can watch Peyton Manning doing his thing, showing us all that he truly is a Master of his Craft.