Anyone familiar with the game of football knows that it's the ultimate team sport in America. If one player doesn't do his job sufficiently, it can ruin an entire play.
Yet fans still hang the pressure to win on the quarterback more than any other position. Sometimes this pressure is warranted; after all, the quarterback makes the most money and touches the ball every single play.
Good teams with bad quarterbacks rarely win a championship. Then again, ask Dan Marino if a good quarterback on a bad team can win a title. He held multiple NFL passing records when he retired, yet he recently had to sit on the CBS football set and listen to Shannon Sharpe proclaim that any quarterback that hasn't won a ring isn't truly great.
If the Broncos lose the Super Bowl, the tweets will revolve around Manning's inability to win the big game.
The latter argument is something Cowboys fans have been mired in for years. Is Tony Romo not good enough to win a championship, or is it because the Cowboys aren't talented enough as a team? It's an argument that will never die unless the Dallas quarterback can lift up a Super Bowl trophy.
That pressure, however, pales in comparison to what Peyton Manning faces on Sunday.
Manning, after all, already holds or will hold nearly every major passing record the NFL offers. He twice set an NFL record for touchdown passes for a season, including a mind-numbing 55 touchdowns this year.
His Colts team was in the playoffs every year with him at the helm, then those same Colts stumbled to the worst record in the league when neck surgery sidelined Manning for the season. He meant everything to his team's success. Did I mention that he's already won a Super Bowl as well?
These achievements apparently aren't enough for the sports world. The week leading up to the Super Bowl has been filled with columns galore about how Peyton Manning has to win the Super Bowl to cement his legacy as a top play-caller.
Some say he needs this Super Bowl win to even be mentioned in the same sentence with Tom Brady. Mind you, the year Brady went down with a season-ending injury, the Patriots went 11-5, while the Colts went 2-14 without Manning.
The fact that Manning is no longer with the Colts actually adds pressure to his "must win" situation. Fans might accept that Indianapolis wasn't that good of a team and Manning simply elevated them to victory, but he will get no such leeway in Denver.
This a Broncos team that won a playoff game with Tim Tebow running his chuck-and-duck offense. Manning's accuracy and offensive mastery should make this team a Super Bowl juggernaut.
Fans and media talking heads will ignore the fact that the past three quarterbacks to set passing records on their way to the Super Bowl — Tom Brady in 2007, Kurt Warner in 2001 and Dan Marino in 1984 — all lost the big game.
In the idiotic world of sports commentary, situations are simplified into broad, encompassing points that can fit into a tweet. Should the Broncos lose the Super Bowl Sunday, the tweets will revolve around Peyton Manning's inability to win the big game.
Such is the life of a quarterback in the NFL. As Tony Romo can attest, sometimes that spotlight can bring out blemishes — even if they aren't real.