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Peter King on M&M: ‘Silly’ to say AFC championship determines Peyton Manning’s legacy

01.17.14 at 1:21 pm ET

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Friday to talk about his AFC and NFC championship predictions and Peyton Manning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

While they have different stories, King compared the legacies of Jerry Rice and Manning to prove his point that one game should not completely define Manning’€™s career.

“When I think of Jerry Rice, I don’€™t think that he couldn’t do it when he was 42,” King said. “The Manning story is different, but not altogether so. I think we place so much emphasis on how a guy does in very, very big games, and rightfully so if you’€™re talking about the greatest of all time, if you’€™re making that argument.

“I think it’€™s silly to say what happens in one game, this one game 20 years from now, is going to put Peyton Manning 18th on the mental all-time quarterback list, however you’€™d rank it, or fourth.”

For King, the argument against decreasing the value of Manning’€™s legacy on one game includes the potential for a worst-case scenario during Sunday’€™s game.

“Suppose that Manning puts up — take a number — 35 points,” King said. “And the Denver D just totally disintegrates and [Tom Brady] scores 45, and it’€™s a shootout and Brady wins.

“I just don’€™t think you can judge Peyton Manning based on you telling me, ‘€˜Well if he loses this game he is here in NFL history or he is there.’ … Whether he wins another Super Bowl or not, I will consider him among the top five who ever played, but I won’€™t consider him the greatest, because you’€™re right, a quarterback does have to win championships.”

Looking at Sunday’€™s game from Brady’€™s perspective, the Patriots quarterback should benefit from the absence of Denver cornerback Chris Harris, who suffered a torn ACL during last Sunday’€™s game against the Chargers.

“I think the Patriots have set themselves up well for this weekend,” King said, “because I definitely don’€™t think Tom Brady is throwing the ball 45 times, but I think he knows, especially with Chris Harris gone, that if he has to throw, he’€™s going to be happy to see either — and you never would’ve said this five, six years ago — but I think he’€™s going to be happier to see Chris Harris gone and see Quentin Jammer and Champ Bailey playing more plays, which is what’€™s going to happen on Sunday.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On his prediction that the Patriots and Seahawks will face off in the Super Bowl: “I think I heard Mike Greenberg say this morning, ‘€˜Yeah, I picked Seattle at the beginning of the year, but that’€™s not why I’€™m picking them today.’€™ We’€™re all lying when we say that’€™s why we’€™re picking them. … This year I picked Seattle over San Francisco in the NFC championship and New England over Denver. So, why would I change now?”

On the weather in Denver: “It’€™s absolutely beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. It’€™s supposed to be absolutely beautiful and 58 or 59 degrees with a low wind on Sunday. You’€™re going to see Josh McDaniels and [Broncos offensive coordinator] Adam Gase both have the ability to open their playbooks and do what they want to do.”

On Wes Welker‘€™s concussion: “My gut feeling is that he is hurt. … I remember when Wayne Chrebet suffered from concussions and he came back and played. And I remember one day after one of those day’€™s games when he was trying to come back, he said, ‘€˜You know, I just don’€™t feel right.’€™ Again, I have no idea, I have not talked to Welker here this week. … I would be surprised if he’€™s playing at anywhere north of 90 percent.”

On the environment at Seattle’€™s CenturyLink Field: “Sitting in there last Saturday for the game, you realize that when you’€™re out there, you quite literally can’€™t hear. And you saw Drew Brees go to every lineman and scream at them, and it just creates another layer of difficulty in playing the game. I just think that’€™s going to be a factor in this game, and I give Seattle’€™s defense a very, very slight edge because, in part, I think their secondary is truly great.”

Read More: Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Peter King, Peyton Manning



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