Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manning Wisely Modest After Breaking Unitas Record

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Manning Wisely Modest After Breaking Unitas Record

MIAMI (Reuters) - Peyton Manning became the Indianapolis Colts' most successful quarterback, in terms of wins, after guiding the team to a 27-23 victory over Miami on Monday but wisely chose to downplay that particular statistic.

Manning holds a series of Colts records and his 119th victory for Indianapolis took him past the record held by Johnny Unitas - widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks since the inception of the NFL.

Unitas, who won the NFL Championship in 1958 in what is known as 'the greatest game', a sudden death overtime victory over the New York Giants, played for the Colts when they were a Baltimore team.

The Colts franchise moved to Indianapolis in 1984 -- the team's equipment were bussed out of Baltimore in the dark of night and their league record and stats traveling along too, but Unitas was among those who refused to switch their loyalties to the new city.

Manning, who led the Colts to a Super Bowl triumph in Miami against the Chicago Bears in February, 2007 and who is a nine-times Pro Bowl selection, is certainly on his way to entering the same standard of legacy as Unitas but few would say he has got there yet and he acknowledged that in his post-game comments.

"I've never felt comfortable with these comparisons to Johnny Unitas. I'm very proud to wear the same uniform as he did. He was very nice to me the times that I was around him. Johnny Unitas was a winner," Manning told reporters.

"I never saw him play but my Dad told me a lot about him and what he meant to the city of Baltimore and what he meant to the NFL. It's very humbling to be mentioned in some of these same categories and individual records but this is a team record.

"There are a lot of people that were part of those wins. A lot of great coaches and a lot of great players. It's a very humbling achievement," he said.

Manning's class was evident throughout Monday's win - he managed to throw for 303 yards and two touchdowns despite his team having the ball for less than a quarter of the game - the lowest recorded possession time for a winning team.

"We stayed loose on the sidelines and then we knew that we had to be effective when we had the ball. It was about being calm," he said, adding that he had followed the example of his younger brother Eli, who on Sunday kept his cool to lead the New York Giants to a late win at Dallas.

"I had pretty good inspiration from a certain quarterback from the Giants - he kept me up pretty late (on Sunday night). I saw how calm and cool he was with young receivers too," said the Colts quarterback.

Unitas still holds the league record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass - his record of 47 games was set in 1960 and has never been seriously challenged.


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