BOSTON (CBS) – Fair or not, Peyton Manning has the reputation of a player who always seems to come up short in the big moments, but he has a chance to rectify and change that narrative this Sunday when his Broncos take on the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly knows a thing or two about coming up short in the big game. His Buffalo Bills reached and lost the Super Bowl four straight times from 1990 – 1993.
The sting of losing still sticks with Kelly, but just getting to the big game four years in a row is an accomplishment in and of itself.
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“I dreamt of getting to the Super Bowl as a kid and I fulfilled those dreams. I was able to get there even though we didn’t win them. The experience of getting there four years in a row, I know is something that will never happen again. It brings back a lot of great memories, but you’re reminded at times that we didn’t win ’em. The more removed from those games the more I think people appreciate what we were able to accomplish.”
On how his experience and legacy translates to Peyton Manning and his, Kelly feels like the criticism of #18 is unfair because, as people tend to forget (in this region particularly), he has won one.
“Everybody makes so much out of winning, but that’s why you play the game: you play to win. At the end of the day, win or lose, Peyton Manning is still one of the top five to ever play the game. From the outside looking in people might say ‘yeah but he lost two’, but win or lose the guy is one of the greatest to ever play the game – especially when you consider the year he had coming back from those neck surgeries.”
Something you don’t hear often is when the NFL veterans of yesteryear speak glowingly of today’s game and all the rule changes.
They often say things like: “This isn’t real football!” or “Put a skirt on the quarterbacks!” or you’ll get the proverbial “Back in my day…”
Jim Kelly is not one of those crabby former players. He loves how the game is played nowadays.
“I think it’s exciting. You want that. They’re doing everything they can to make the came more exciting. They’re also trying to make it safer for the young kids. I think they’re doing a good job. I would have loved those rules back when I played, I probably would have played a few more years and thrown for more touchdowns. But this is what I like. You want to see people score touchdowns. We definitely would have lit it up [today] – we lit it up back then.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including his thoughts on Tom Brady: