LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - I hated Peyton Manning. The Broncos couldn't beat him.
He was the quarterback who always converted on third down, who always took advantage of your mistakes and who always made the right throw.
As a Broncos fan since 1983, I watched, in person a few times, as he dominated the Denver defense on numerous occasions. Even when the Broncos won, as they did 31-17 late in the 2003 season, Manning had the last laugh, a 41-10 playoff win two weeks later.
As much as I despised him, I also respected him. That's why I jumped up and down like a kid when he picked Denver, after the Colts released him.
I knew that he would give my team a chance to compete for another Super Bowl Championship.
The first thing that he did is make the regular season an afterthought. I stopped putting weight on regular season games, knowing that the playoffs were in the Broncos future. You see, as much as his critics point to his 14-13 postseason record, there is something to be said for getting your team to the postseason every season.
It's not as easy as he made it look.
In four seasons in Denver, the Broncos won four AFC West titles and never lost a division road game. This in a league that prides itself on parity. Where teams often go from out of the playoffs to the Super Bowl.
Consistency isn't as attractive as splash. It's also the most difficult thing in sports to sustain. Consistent winning. Consistent excellence.
That is Peyton Manning's legacy. Yes, he retires as the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and wins, but what he really was all about was making every opponent sweat, knowing that if they didn't bring their A game, they would get embarrassed.
Thank you Peyton Manning for helping my favorite team win another Super Bowl. It is a feeling that is never quite as good as the first time, but that also, never gets old.