10. Jan 4, 2004: Perfect passer rating in his first playoff victory – It took six years for Manning to win his first playoff game, but when that victory finally came, it arrived in stylish fashion. Manning became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating in a playoff game as the Colts crushed Denver 41-0. No. 18 had five touchdown passes and no interceptions, finishing with just four incompletions.
9. Jan. 24, 2010: Domination against the Jets in the ’09 AFC title game – Both of Manning’s conference championship performances have been phenomenal. We’ll get to the first game against New England in a moment, but Manning roasted the Jets’ aggressive defense with 377 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts punched a ticket to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.
8. Nov. 15, 2009: Comeback against New England – Unfortunately, what most remember best from this game is Bill Belichick going for it from his own territory on fourth down with a late lead. But Manning also led Indy on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives as the Colts came back from a 17-point deficit to slay their biggest rival.
7. March 24, 2007: Saturday Night Live United Way ad spoof – This one speaks for itself:
6. Oct. 6, 2003: Comeback against the Bucs: ’03 was the year in which Manning went from great to untouchable. His numbers shot up as he became significantly more efficient, and the Colts went 12-4 — their second best record since the 1970 merger. The Colts went to the AFC championship game that year, but the highlight of their breakout season probably took place when Manning led a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback against the best defense in the league, in the house of the defending Super Bowl champions.
5. Sept. 28, 2003: Six-touchdown performance against the Saints: One week prior to that comeback in Tampa, and back in his home town, Manning lit up New Orleans with six touchdown passes and a perfect passer rating as the Colts crushed the Saints 55-21.
4. Jan. 9, 2005: Another ridiculous playoff performance against the Broncos – Manning didn’t just kill the Broncos in 2003; he did it again the very next year. His passer rating might not have been perfect this time, but Manning had one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen from a quarterback as the Colts put up 49 points in another blowout victory in the wild-card round. He had 458 yards and four touchdown passes on the day.
3. Dec. 26, 2004: Breaks the single-season touchdown record – This record has since fallen to his arch nemesis, Tom Brady. But at the time, it was a big deal. The ’04 season was arguably the best of Manning’s career, and the highlight came in Week 16 against San Diego, when he set a new single-season touchdown record with a whole game to spare.
2. Jan. 21, 2007: AFC championship victory against the Pats – After falling to New England in the playoffs two of the previous three seasons, the Patriots had officially become Indy’s biggest obstacle. But en route to Manning’s only Super Bowl victory, he and the Colts came back from an early 18-point deficit to win. It was the biggest comeback in conference title game history.
1. Feb. 4, 2007: Super Bowl XLI: Manning might not have played the game of his life, but there’s really no way around putting the Super Bowl in the top spot.