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2013 NFL: Does Peyton Have Anything Left in the Tank?

broncsatchargers-wrIt happens to us all. Old age gets the best of us. It doesn’t matter how great you are either. The greatest athletes in the world all lose to Father Time. He is undefeated. So with that in mind, can Peyton Manning get to one more Super Bowl?

One would have to think that the Denver Broncos should win the AFC West. Even with Manning getting another year older, he is still the best quarterback in the division. Philip Rivers would be a fairly close second. After that, the talent level drops significantly. The Oakland Raiders still don’t know who they will be starting at quarterback. They got Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks hoping he would be the guy, but it looks as if Terrelle Pryor may be doing his best Russell Wilson impression and giving the Raiders second thoughts. In Kansas City, Alex Smith takes the helm this year. While Smith was successful in recent years with the San Francisco, he will not have the supporting cast with the Chiefs. This means he likely struggles as he did in his early years when the Niners were not as talented.

So the Broncos should easily make the playoffs again and will likely get a bye in the first round again. So Manning will surely get another shot provided he stays healthy. But what happens after that?

It would seem as if last season was his best shot to get to the Super Bowl as a Bronco. He’ll never be any younger. And the Broncos had the home field clinched throughout the AFC playoffs. But after the Baltimore Ravens played the week before while Denver rested, the Broncos still managed to lose the game. For much of the game it appeared Denver had the game won, but somehow at the end they coughed it up. Perhaps the most telling sign that Denver’s coaching staff is not 100 per cent confident in Manning anymore was in the fourth quarter when they chose to sit on the ball in the final 30 seconds rather than give him a shot at getting them into field goal range.

While some may say they were showing confidence that Manning could pull out the game in overtime, what they were really afraid of was him throwing a pick and not getting to overtime. And they may not have been wrong, because that is what he did in the overtime to set Baltimore up to win the game.

Baltimore comes in for the season opener a week from Thursday. While last year’s win was considered an upset, it is doubtful that too many would be shocked if Joe Flacco and the Ravens beat the Broncos this time around. That being the case, then is Denver a Super Bowl contender?

With the New England Patriots being a bit down, the Ravens losing a lot of talent in Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin and Ed Reed, Denver should have a good shot. But with father Time going against him, it is hard to imagine that manning can get all the way.

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