#13 Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning comes back from career-threatening neck injury; leads Denver Broncos to AFC Playoffs
When Peyton Manning failed to play a single game during the 2011 season, many pundits believed his career was probably over. Manning’s neck surgery to alleviate neck pain and arm weakness led to a more serious surgery—a level one cervical fusion procedure.
The Colts released Manning at the end of last season and subsequently signed number-one draft pick Andrew Luck. But when the Denver Broncos signed him in March, speculation about his future intensified.
Not only did Manning prove the naysayers wrong, he ended up having a Pro Bowl season and led the Broncos to the AFC Playoffs. With one regular season game remaining, Manning had tallied 4,355 passing yards and 34 touchdowns (second most in his career). Described as a devout Presbyterian, Manning mentioned earlier this year how a Bible study was helping him deal with the challenging aspects of physical rehabilitation.
“I always felt it was very important to have a good relationship with the Lord,” Manning once said in another interview. “He always has to be your number one priority.”