Manning Passes into the History Books Indianapolis Star Editorial December 28, 2004 Overheard on the street on a cold Monday morning: "Did you see the game yesterday?" an older gentleman out for his daily exercise asks a neighbor. "Wasn't that something," says the neighbor, walking her dogs. "How exciting!" Such was the banter in the streets, shops and offices of Indianapolis a day after quarterback Peyton Manning broke a 20-year-old NFL touchdown passing record in leading his team to a dramatic come-from-behind victory. Manning is not only the man of the moment but the year. He's a virtual lock to win his second consecutive most valuable player award. (Last year he shared it with Tennessee Titan Steve McNair.) On Monday, Manning was runner-up to six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. Athletes disappoint off the field almost as often as they thrill fans on it. But not Manning. He's generous with his time and money in the community. And he gives no indication that the many excesses of professional sports have spoiled him. Consider his actions after he tossed the record-setting touchdown Sunday: As fans roared in celebration, Manning signaled to them for quiet. His team was still behind by two points with less than a minute remaining. Manning, the center of enormous national media attention in recent weeks, maintained focus and self-control. Victory was at stake. The next few seconds brought a handoff to running back Edgerrin James, and a two-point conversion. The next few minutes brought a Mike Vanderjagt field goal, and victory in overtime. A selfless performance. A rousing win. A classic athlete wrapped in Colts blue.