ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown 47 touchdown passes this season – putting him on pace to set the NFL record. But if the season ended today, his 47 touchdowns would put his 2013 season fourth on the all-time list.
In recognition of this season's effort, and his production throughout his careerm Manning was named *Sports Illustrated's *Sportsman of the Year.
"There couldn't be a more deserving guy," Head Coach John Fox said Monday. "I go back to even last year, to make that change after doing it in a city for 14 years with the same organization and to come out here and get used to a new city, new teammates, new organization coming off of four neck surgeries and rehabbing that, I think is remarkable. I thought it was remarkable a year ago and remarkable again this year. It's a great accomplishment and I couldn't think of a more deserving guy.
"He's in a great list of company for sure."
Manning becomes the fourth quarterback to earn the award since he joined the NFL in 1998. He joins Tom Brady (2005), Brett Favre (2007) and Drew Brees (2010) with that distinction. He is just the eighth NFL player overall to be named Sportsman of the Year.
In his career to date, Manning has amassed more than 64,000 yards, 483 touchdowns and a career passer rating of 96.9. He's a super-bowl champion, a 12-time Pro Bowler and a four-time NFL MVP.
But the award honors more than his on-the-field accomplishments as it also recognizes his impact on the community.
"I think in the case of Peyton we're talking about he's been in three locations in his career since 1994—Knoxville, Indianapolis and mostly recently (and) obviously Denver, and in all of those places his body of work speaks for itself," Sports Illustrated's Managing Editor Chris Stone said Monday at Dove Valley.
"But the emotional connection that he's kind of established with each of those fan bases and those communities is exemplary, needless to say."
His teammates agree that there Manning certainly deserves the recognition.
"It's a big honor," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "It was really cool to see everything he's been through – the resilience he has and what he's done in the last two years for this organization. To be honored with that – he says it's a team award – but it says a lot about him individually, coming back and fighting through a lot of adversity. And kind of being the leader he is and just having the success that he deserves."
The 2013 accolades for Manning might not end with the Sportsman of the Year award from Sports Illustrated. He was a favorite at the season's midpoint for NFL MVP and is still a top candidate as the Broncos are leading the AFC and he is leading the league in completions, yards and touchdowns.
"You never know what he's going to get," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said Monday. "I feel like he gets something every week. I'm proud of him. He did a great job these past (two) years he's been with us. Just take my hat off to him—he did a great job and he deserves it."