The Sheriff takes off his star in Denver today. Peyton Manning told the Broncos of his retirement over the weekend and the team is holding a news conference at 1 p.m. ET to put the bow on the 18-year career that he crowned with the Super Bowl triumph over Carolina last month.
The Jets are in the forefront of NFL teams raising a toast to Manning. For the first four years of his career with Indianapolis, they dueled him at least twice a year as AFC East rivals. Overall they played him 15 times. His teams won more, the Jets won more than a few.
Here are five facts from the Green & White's history with Peyton, all offered as a salute to No. 18's career:
1. The Jets' Wins
The Jets won four of 12 regular-season meetings, and perhaps most noteworthy was the first in '98 when they pummeled Peyton and the Colts in his third pro start, 44-6. The 38 points turned out to be the largest losing margin a Manning-led team ever suffered.
And the Jets won two in the postseason. The first was the Chad Pennington-led 41-0 Meadowlands rout in the 2002 AFC Wild Card Game. Eight years later, with Mark Sanchez at QB and Nick Folk doing the game-winning honors with his walk-off 32-yard field goal, the Jets won, 17-16, in the 2010 AFC Wild Card Game. We won't dwell on the 2009 AFC Championship Game, when Manning directed the Colts from a 17-6 deficit to a 30-17 win.
Only three teams beat the Sheriff twice in the postseason: New England after the '03-04 seasons, San Diego after the '07-08 seasons, and the Jets.
2. Peyton's Wins
Manning won eight and lost four of the RS games. Actually, he lost three, but his ledger gets debited with the 2009 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium when he and the undefeated Colts took a 15-10 lead in the third quarter, then coach Jim Caldwell pulled his starters and the Jets roared ahead for the 29-15 win.
Among his other wins over the Jets:
■ The 24-23 home success in his 1998 rookie season — remember the fourth-and-15 screen to Marshall Faulk for 18 yards en route to the go-ahead TD pass to Marcus Pollard?
■ The 2001 season opener at the Meadowlands, a 45-24 Indy win in Herm Edwards' pro coaching debut.
■ The 2003 RCA Dome meeting when Pennington put together a "perfect" game (158.3 passer rating), only to be outdueled by Manning's 401-yard performance in the 38-31 victory.
■ The 2006 visit to the Meadowlands, when his only carry of the game was for a 1-yard touchdown with 50 seconds to play to put the Colts on top to stay, 31-28.
3. That Shutout
The '02 playoff win was further significant because the Jets defense — Mo Lewis, Marvin Jones, John Abraham (one sack), Damien Robinson and James Darling (one INT each), Ray Mickens (team-leading six tackles) and the rest of the unit — did something no other NFL team did in Manning's 293-game career. They shut his team out.
4. His Career Passing Line
Manning's passing stats for 15 games vs. the Jets was sterling. He completed 327 of 523 passes, 62.5% accuracy, for 3,671 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 19 sacks and an 85.8 rating. The accuracy was fifth-best among opposing QBs with at least five games played since 1991. His 13.3 passing first downs per game was the best average by any opposing QB since '91.
5. Manning's Drive
Peyton didn't always rack up monster numbers vs. the Jets. For instance, his career 21.9% touchdown drive rate was 17th among the 55 QBs with at least 50 drives in franchise history, about what Ryan Fitzpatrick's drive rate was this past season, very good but not the 30% of a QB having a monster season.
But one of many secret to his success against the NFL in general and the Green & White in particular — besides his leadership, knowledge of the game and pinpoint accuracy — was how well he orchestrated drives. His 6.1 plays per drive was the second-best average vs. the Jets behind only Tom Brady's 6.2, and his 34.2 drive yards were the best by an enemy QB in franchise history.