MVP not enough for Manning

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

There will be more records for Peyton Manning and, you can bet, additional MVP awards to accompany the one claimed yesterday.

What may not come so regular, however, are opportunities like the one which awaits the Indianapolis Colts quarterback over the next few weeks.

More than anything, Manning wants to do what Dan Marino, the man whose single-season touchdown record he eclipsed in 2004, could not.

An avid fan of the game, Manning knows that true greatness is measured by Super Bowls, not MVPs. That's why he would much rather be remembered in the same category as retired Denver Broncos John Elway than Marino.

So it was a different Manning who embraced his father, former NFL star Archie, outside the Colts locker room following this Sunday's win over the Broncos. A year ago, Peyton was giddy with relief after winning the first playoff game of his career.

There were no wide eyes this time, just the look of a guy ready to embark on an important business trip.

DOME SWEET DOME

The Minnesota Vikings' upset of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night may have indirectly helped the cause of the St. Louis Rams.

Not only did Mike Martz's team avoid a second-round matchup with the NFC favourite Philadelphia Eagles, but they now move back indoors against the Atlanta Falcons.

These Rams aren't as talented as the Greatest Show on Turf version of five years ago. But they are noticeably better on carpet and under a roof and have a better chance stopping the Falcons Michael Vick than the Eagles Donovan McNabb.

The Rams also have captured three games in a row, all of them must wins, oddly enough giving them the longest winning streak of the four remaining NFC teams.

PURPLE POWER?

On the other hand, if you are the Eagles and you had a choice of 8-8 teams you would probably take the Rams over the Vikings.

With quarterback Daunte Culpepper, a bigger, stronger version of the Eagles' McNabb, Minnesota could be dangerous. Culpepper is also one of the more responsible quarterbacks in terms of protecting the ball. His 39 touchdowns to 11 interceptions are second only to Manning's 49-10 ratio with McNabb right there at 31-8.

DOME SWEET DOME II

Much has been made about the tough trip the Colts have to a championship because of potentially lethal road games in New England and Pittsburgh.

There is a possibility, however, that Indy could host the AFC Championship should they upset the Patriots and the New York Jets knock off the favoured Pittsburgh Steelers.

While that would seem unlikely, the Jets do have a stout defence which gave up just 16 points to the Steelers in the regular season. They also may have given rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger more trouble than any other team.

And the Steelers aren't exactly invincible as home favourites in the post season losing AFC Championship games to New England in 2001, Denver in 1997 and San Diego in 1994.

NOT-SO BAD BOY

There is no question that Randy Moss is an annoying egomaniac who regularly places himself above the game.

The mock "mooning" the Vikings receiver gave to the fans at Lambeau Field on Sunday night was far funnier than it was infuriating, however. The only thing more comical has been the outrage over the incident by some in the media, most notably FOX, the network that specializes in trash TV.

What critics may not know it that there is a longstanding tradition in Green Bay for Packers fans to "moon" the team buses as they leave the stadium. As crass as he was and is, Moss also deserves marks for cleverness.

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SNAP JUDGMENTS

Rob Longley looks at the winners and losers of Wildcard games

COLTS: Add some defence to the offence and suddenly they have to be taken seriously.

RAMS: The hottest team in the NFC, for what that's worth.

JETS: Big road win against a contender will make them an interesting foe for the Steelers.

CHARGERS: Which was worse, a kicker who couldn't kick or a coach who couldn't coach?

PACKERS: Were exposed for the fraud they are, losing at home to a divisional rival.

BRONCOS: They may have played the hottest team in football, but they were unwilling to even compete.


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