Peyton Manning has found himself in another Super Bowl following a stellar year by his defense and some fantastic starts by his backup, Brock Osweiler.
It isn’t all about the defense and Osweiler, though.
Peyton Manning will be starting in his third Super Bowl on Sunday and, like most things in the NFL, the quarterback is going to get the lion’s share of the attention. Super Bowl 50 is the second Super Bowl with he Denver Broncos for the future Hall of Fame QB, but before he spent four seasons in Denver, he was with the Indianapolis Colts, cutting his teeth on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In light of this likely being Manning’s last rodeo, we’ll spend some time looking back at that here.
When Manning was drafted first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, the Jaguars were just a fledgling franchise, struggling to make their mark. They had already been to one AFC Championship game at that point, but the big question hanging over them was whether they could keep that up.
As we know, the Jags did manage to keep the dominance going, with the 1999 squad arguably representing the best in franchise history.
For a young Peyton Manning competing in the AFC East, he didn’t have to see the Jaguars, who competed in the AFC Central very often. Their one matchup between Manning and the Jags before the realignment was in 2000, which saw Manning throw for 400 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions in a 43-14 beatdown.
That season, Manning would lead the league in passing for his first time ever and also lead in passing touchdowns. Just two years before he had led the league in interceptions as a rookie.
Fast forward to 2002 and that one beatdown would set the tone for a future division rivalry in the newly created AFC South. It would be Manning vs the Jaguars for the next nine seasons of his career.
In 19 games against the Jags as the starter for the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning won 14 of them. Of his five losses, all of them were decided by five points or fewer, except the 44-17 drubbing at the hands of Fred Taylor (131 yards) and Maurice Jones-Drew (166 yards) in 2006. That year, the Colts would go on to win the Super Bowl.
Overall, it wasn’t much of a rivalry between Mannning and the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was so one-sided as the Colts remained king of the AFC South for a decade under his superb quarterback play.
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Now, with one more big game left to play, he’s hoping all that time dominating the Jaguars and the rest of the AFC South will pay off. He’s hoping that his years and years of experience cutting his teeth against franchises like the Jags are enough to take on the best team in football.
As an interesting parallel, the Carolina Panthers, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, entered the league in 1996. The Jags’ counterpart is hoping that Manning won’t be able to have the same kind of success against them that he has managed to have against the Jaguars.