Peyton Manning’s defeat in the Super Bowl on Sunday has posed a number of questions coming into the offseason.
First of all, what does the future hold for Manning? At the outset he has two options: Retire and the lasting image we will have of one of the greatest quarterback that ever lived is the beaten man we saw on Sunday. Or he could play on in Denver and perhaps challenge for more Super Bowls. But how likely is that?
The Seattle Seahawks were impressive in their dismantling of Manning’s number one ranked offense and it is hard to see a scenario in which the Broncos would feel comfortable in beating the Seahawks in the near future. Its not just Manning either, those Seahawks faced 12 pocket-passing quarterbacks during the 2013 regular season and were victorious over 10 of them.
Only Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer survived the ‘legion of boom’ and even they only threw for three touchdowns between them. Colin Kaepernick tested the Seahawks however. Kaepernick is thought by most to be the most accomplished of the new era ‘double-threat’ quarterbacks. Kaepernick led his team to victory when the teams met in San Francisco and the 49ers were within a touchdown of beating the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.
Seattle brings a brand of defense, which is hard to beat by any one means. A quarterback cannot simply sit back and pass on the ‘legion of boom’. Manning showed that on Sunday, the front seven will attack you and their secondary have among the best ball-hawks in the league. In the Super Bowl, the Seahawks were simply faster, stronger and more energetic than the Broncos and that is hard to beat when you have a statue like Manning at quarterback.
The NFL is slowly realising this. Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III have all come into the league in the past three years and have proved effective with their exciting brand of scrambling and passing.
Even quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco have shown the ability to be mobile while still possessing the big arm to really hurt defenses. In May the top two quarterbacks taken in the draft will most likely be Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. They are two signal-callers who have shown the ability to make a play with both their legs and arms. Although the death of the pocket passer like Manning or Tom Brady may still be some years away, the league is clearly gravitating in that direction.
The greatest quarterback of the next generation will have to be able to run and pass in a way that Manning and Brady cannot. And then maybe that number one offense will stand a chance against a number one defense.