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Rival Report 1/25: Peyton Manning leads Broncos to Super Bowl 50

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This has been far and away the strangest season of Peyton Manning's long and storied career. He went from embattled starter, to injured starter, to backup QB, back to starter, and now onto Super Bowl 50. For a player who will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, this has been quite the roller coaster ride.

However, once the playoffs started the world could see why Peyton Manning was starting again for the Denver Broncos. Maybe he can't throw it like he used to but he still has the intelligence that has earmarked his career as a first ballot hall of famer. He may not be the physical specimen he used to be, but his experience and football IQ led the Broncos back to the promised land.

It has to be one of the best stories surrounding a Super Bowl in the history of the NFL. Washed up, has been QB that is a shell of his former self manages to put it all together when needed most. If he wins this championship in a couple weeks from now it will be one of the greatest comeback stories in professional sports. That isn't hyperbole, it is simply a fact.

His opponent for Super Bowl 50 is the Carolina Panthers and they are lead by a young, cocky Cam Newton who basically is the opposite style of Peyton Manning. From athletic ability all the way down to persona on and off the field. It's the new guard vs. the old guard in the truest sense of the words and will be talked about ad nauseam for the next two weeks.

If Peyton Manning wasn't playing for one of the teams that us Raiders fans hate the most it would be easy to know who I would be rooting for in Super Bowl 50. It'd be Peyton Manning getting the chance to win one more Super Bowl before riding off to the sunset.

However, it's not that simple because he is a Denver Bronco and it is far too reminiscent of John Elway's end to his career. It will be interesting to see if I end up rooting for him anyway once the game actually starts, but it's impossible to say until the opening kickoff. One thing is for certain anyway, it will be a storyline that I will eagerly await the finishing sentences for.

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