As Peyton Manning celebrates his birthday on Friday, we're taking a look back at some of The Sheriff's top moments in Denver.
Read on for a look at just a few of our favorite highlights from Manning's Ring of Fame career in the Mile High City.
A SUPER SEASON
Any list of Manning's best moments must begin with the Broncos capturing their third world championship. While Manning did not throw for dozens and dozens of touchdowns in his final season, his experience and leadership helped guide the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 title. After battling injury during the regular season, he grinded through his rehab and made an emotional return in a Week 17 comeback win over the Chargers to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. He threw a pair of early touchdowns in an AFC Championship win over the Patriots, and he helped manage the game in a close win over the Panthers. His final pass was for a two-point conversion, and he retired on top.
A COMEBACK FOR THE AGES
The start of Manning's career in Denver did not mean immediate success for the Broncos. After an opening win over the Steelers, Denver sat at 2-3 and faced a 24-0 halftime deficit against the Chargers on "Monday Night Football" in 2012. Then, Manning took over. He threw three second-half touchdown passes and just one incompletion as Denver posted what was then the fourth-largest regular-season comeback in NFL history. From there, Denver didn't look back; the team did not lose another game in the regular season and started a remarkable four-year period of success.
SEVEN FOR 18
In Denver's first game following a heartbreaking postseason loss to the Ravens, Manning and the Broncos got some semblance of revenge. In a 49-27 win to start the 2013 season, Manning tied an NFL record for the most touchdown passes in a game and became the first player to throw for seven scores in a game since 1969. The Broncos actually trailed 17-14 at halftime, but Manning threw an impressive five touchdowns in the second half to built a 42-17 advantage by the early stages of the fourth quarter. The performance would kick off an unforgettable season for Manning.
BREAKING A MARK
Several weeks before Broncos' first AFC Championship victory under Manning, the signal caller set the single-season touchdown mark in a Week 16 win over the Texans. Manning, who previously broke Dan Marino's record in 2004, had his initial total usurped by Tom Brady in 2007. Brady's mark of 50 touchdown passes stood until December of 2013, when Manning entered the game with 47 touchdown passes. He tied Brady's mark midway through the fourth quarter, and a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 to play secured the record for Manning. A week later, he added four more touchdown passes to push his total to 55. Even after two 17-game seasons, that mark still stands.
A year after setting a slew of single-season records, Manning toppled career marks midway through the 2014 campaign. Manning entered a "Sunday Night Football" game against the 49ers two touchdown passes shy of tying Brett Favre's record for the most career touchdown passes, and he reached that mark before the end of the second quarter. Then, late in the third quarter, Manning found Demaryius Thomas on a beautifully timed route to the front right pylon. Thomas and his fellow receivers then played keep away from Manning in a moment of levity following the record-breaker. Dave Logan, the Voice of the Broncos, punctuated the play with the perfect call: "Move over, Brett Favre, and make room for the new king!"
Below the Fold
The Broncos added to their backfield again on Thursday, as they signed Tony Jones Jr. Their initial addition, though, came via the signing of Samaje Perine. The Denver Post's Parker Gabriel caught up with Perine about heading to Denver and pairing with Javonte Williams.