Peyton’s patience and perseverance 

In our world of the instant gratification of text messaging, Peyton Manning playing in the Super Bowl is the kind of story we should celebrate, one of perseverance and playing through plenty of disappointments. A sexy, overnight success this is not.

Although the Indianapolis Colts have been a playoff team the past few years, Manning has been playing in the NFL for nine seasons. When he began his NFL career, Monica Lewinsky was in the headlines, "Saving Private Ryan" was in the movie theaters and videotapes were in VCRs.

Although Manning arrived at the NFL’s doorstep in 1998 with all the hoopla and money that goes with being the first overall draft choice, there have been plenty of lumps along the way. In fact, simply winning at the NFL level is an achievement in the Manning family.

Manning grew up watching his father, Archie Manning, play the final nine years of a 15-year NFL career that never brought with it a winning season. Once, in 1978, Archie Manning guided the New Orleans Saints to an 8-8 record. For Archie, the NFL was a case of being on the wrong team at the wrong time, because he was a great college quarterback.

My favorite Manning fact: The speed limit on the campus of the University of Mississippi, where Archie played his college ball, is 18 miles per hour, honoring the No. 18 Archie wore at Ole Miss.

For Peyton, the NFL has been a tough climb, his progress measured inch-by-inch. He didn’t win a playoff game until his sixth NFL season, and that came after losing his first three postseason tries by a combined score of 83-33.

No matter whether it was Peyton stinking it up, or his being let down by a teammate named Vanderjagt, Manning has endured. I believe the true measure of an athlete should be how he pushes on after his heartbreaks, and Peyton Manning has been nothing but admirable in that department.

For every Magic Johnson, who wins a championship as a rookie, there is Michael Jordan, who doesn’t win his first title until his sixth season. For every Tom Brady, who won a Super Bowl in his first postseason, I’m hoping there is a Peyton Manning.

» Oh, so now Bud Selig plays the tough guy, telling the Giants and Barry Bonds that Major League Baseball is not about to accept their contract. It takes a congressional threat to get Selig to act on performance-enhancing drugs, but he’s dead set on trying to deny the Giants and Bonds a 15th season together.

I’m figuring Selig is up late nights pacing his office trying to come up with a way to keep Bonds from breaking Hank Aaron’s record. Next, he’ll be asking hotels to deny Bonds a room on the road.

Selig has become to Bonds what Brittany Spears is to Kevin Federline, the former acting like such a baffoon that I find myself actually siding with the latter. By the way, the commercial starring Federline that debuts during the Super Bowl is terrific. I laughed out loud.

» If I’m Mike Nolan, from now on, I’m asking my coaches to change their phone numbers at the end of a season. What does it say about a coach whose team goes 11-21 in his first two seasons only to see his staff keep getting raided by other NFL teams? It says to me they’ve been coaching the hell out of the 49ers.

» With all due respect to the Joe Thornton and the Sharks, whose pursuit of the Stanley Cup this season is the Bay Area’s best reality TV, if you have not seen Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins play the game of hockey, you are missing the best story in sports.

Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of "Sportsphone 680" on KNBR (680 AM).

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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