February 4, 2012
The word legacy is thrown around the sports world like the word love is thrown around for everything in everyday life. It seems that everyone has some sort of legacy to protect before they have even made a play at the professional level.
LeBron James has at least another ten years left in his playing career but every season is a statement on his legacy. Tim Tebow hasn’t even spent one full season as a starter but his potential legacy is already being discussed.
This week heading up to Super Bowl XLVI, the word legacy is something you will hear over and over again. In this case, it might be a fitting time for the word.
Super Bowl XLVI will have a tangled web of legacies on the line. The strange thing is that one man not in this game will see his legacy affected no matter who wins.
Indianapolis will host this year’s Super Bowl in Lucas Oil Stadium. The building that is billed as the place Peyton Manning built.
You see, Peyton will not play in this Super Bowl but history might not be kind to him after his career is done. Playing in the house he built will be his little brother Eli and his closest contemporary Tom Brady.
The older Manning missed this season because of his third neck surgery. At age 35, Peyton’s career could be over if he does not full heal or he could be out of town if the Colts use the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft on Andrew Luck.
Eli has a chance to do something Peyton failed to do against the New Orleans Saints. A victory by the New York Giants will give the younger Manning something his brother doesn’t have, a second ring.
A victory by the Giants would also give Eli his eighth playoff victory. Peyton has nine victories but ten defeats. Little brother Eli has just three playoff defeats.
Peyton has played 19 playoff games to his brothers ten but great quarterbacks are judge more for the postseason than the regular season. In the last few years, Peyton’s postseason record was starting to undergo more scrutiny.
If he had defeated Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, it would have quieted down the rumble that is beginning to become a roar. A second ring would have also pulled Payton closer to Brady.
Tom Brady has been one of the most successful NFL quarterbacks ever. Not bad for a guy who was drafted in the sixth round with 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Brady has already tied Joe Montana for most career playoff victories. This will be his fifth Super Bowl and he has won three.
The only black mark on Brady’s Super Bowl record is a loss in Super Bowl XLII to Eli’s Giants. That loss ruined Brady and the Patriots chance at a perfect season (just the 2nd ever perfect season in NFL history if they had won).
This Super Bowl will give Brady a chance to avenged that loss and give him four Super Bowl victories in his career. The only over quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins are Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
A win would give Brady sole place for most playoff victories. At the age of 34, the end of Brady’s career is closer than the beginning. He can cement his place as the best quarterback in NFL history with a win.
Both coaches can add to their legacy. This is the first Super Bowl to feature coaches with a win in previous Super Bowls since Don Shula and Bill Walsh in Super Bowl XIX.
Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in NFL history and is coaching in his fifth Super Bowl. In fact, both Brady and Belichick is the only quarterback/coach combo to reach five Super Bowls.
Belichick joined former Dallas Cowboy’s coach Tom Landry as the only coaches to reach five Super Bowls and needs another trip to tie, the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula who has six trips.
If he wins, Bilichick, would equal former Pittsburgh Steeler coach Chuck Noll four victories. A victory would give the Patriots coach six rings (he won two rings as an assistant with the New York Giants under Bill Parcells.
Only Tom Landry (20 wins) and Don Shula (19 wins) have more playoff wins than Belichick and he has equaled Joe Gibbs (17 wins) for third place. The coach known as the hoodie has precious little time to get those victories before Brady hangs up his cleats.
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin can equal the number of Super Bowl wins Parcells had with the team. In a city where the pressure is never off, it would be the crowning moment in Coughlin’s career.
There would be little doubt that Coughlin would be a hall of fame coach with a second victory in America’s biggest game. Coughlin will also be known as a road warrior, his seven road victories tie Landry with the most in NFL history.
Five men will all see their legacy affected in one 60 minute game.