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Peyton Manning To Announce Retirement, Reports Say

Peyton Manning Super Bowl 50

 The Denver Post is reporting that Peyton Manning, one of the greatest N.F.L. Quarterbacks to play the game, will announce that the just-concluded 2015 season was his last:

His Bronc riding days are over; the last rodeo is done.

Peyton Manning is saying goodbye; it’s been lots of fun.

According to two sources, Manning will acknowledge his decision by the end of this week.

These sources also say that Peyton, who will turn 40 on March 24, is leaving the Broncos and retiring from the game he has played competitively for 29 years.

It’s implausible that Manning would opt to sign with another team for one season.

Manning’s final play for the Broncos was a handoff to C.J. Anderson for 5 yards with 1:22 remaining in Super Bowl 50. Manning’s first play with Denver was a handoff to Willis McGahee in the opening moments of a September game in 2012.

In between, Manning threw for 151 touchdowns and 19,062 yards. He ran for one touchdown. He won 76.9 percent of the games he started with the Broncos, compiling an overall 50-15 record. He came off the bench to lead the Broncos to one other victory in his final regular-season game.

With Manning, the Broncos won four consecutive AFC West titles. The Broncos played in two Super Bowls, winning one.

Also astounding was Manning’s record as a starter against division teams. He was 20-2, losing only to San Diego at home in 2013 and to Kansas City in his final start in 2015, when he was suffering from plantar fasciitis and suffering through his worst game. He never lost a division game on the road.

Manning produced 10 comeback victories and 11 fourth-quarter, game-winning drives. All pleased his boss — The Comeback King.

In John Elway’s last four seasons, he had a combined record of 51-17 (75 percent) and won two Super Bowls. He could have won another in the 1996 season. Manning perhaps could have won another in his first season in Denver.

Elway finished his career as the all-time leader in regular-season victories. Manning is No. 1 in combined regular-season and postseason victories with 200. Elway was the oldest quarterback (38) to win a Super Bowl — until Manning replaced him at 39.

Both must be placed in the top tier of all-time quarterbacks, and probably in the first five.

Manning’s achievements, coming after overcoming four neck surgeries and with a new franchise, are more than everyone should have expected. Same for Elway, who overcame three Super Bowl defeats and a torn biceps. The two No. 1 picks, originally property of the Colts, made Colorado proud.

There have been three parades.

While neither Manning nor the Broncos have confirmed these reports, the idea of Manning retirement at the end of this season have been floating around since at least October when Manning started to falter and saw his starting position taken over by Broncos backup Quarterback Brock Osweiler, who played to mixed reviews until Manning returned from a foot injury in December and ended up leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory just two years after a humbling loss to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII. Even with that success, though, all of the signs pointed to Manning calling it quits at the end of the season regardless of whether that meant on the heals of another Super Bowl loss or something else. For one thing, next season would be Manning’s last under the contract he signed with the Broncos if both sides chose to exercise the option for a final year built into the deal. That would be problematic for Denver, though, since it would mean spending another $19 million on a Quarterback who was showing the signs of his age even at the end of the 2014 season and whose history of injury suggested playing at the age of 40 may not be advisable to begin with. At the same time, the Broncos would need to find a way to keep Osweiler who is obviously eager to step out of Manning’s spotlight and prove that he can be a starter himself, but who may not be willing to sign a new contract if it meant sitting on the sidelines for another year as Peyton’s understudy. When the Broncos made it to Super Bowl 50, though, and even more so after they won, many analysts believed that Manning would see this as the appropriate opportunity to end his career on a high note. Indeed, when the Broncos defeated the Patriots to win the AFC Championship Game in January, a reporters microphone picked up Manning seemingly acknowledging that the end might be near:

More evidence mounts that Super Bowl 50 will be Peyton Manning’s last game in the NFL.

As NFL Network cameras caught Manning and Bill Belichick embracing after the AFC Championship Game, the quarterback acknowledges it might be the last time the two battle.

“Hey, listen, this might be my last rodeo. So, it sure has been a pleasure,” Manning told Belichick.

The context of the statement partly explains why both Manning and Belichick remained mum on the exchange following the contest.

Manning’s phrasing is interesting, considering “last rodeo” was the exact wording Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post used earlier this month when asking Manning if this could be the end. “I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking about that,” the quarterback said at the time.

Notwithstanding the Broncos-Patriots rivalry of recent years, Manning and Belichick have reportedly long had a mutual bond of respect between rivals that goes back many years, so it’s not entirely surprising that Manning would talk this way on what may well have been the last time he faced the Patriots on a football field.

In any case, assuming that this is true it would mark the end of a career unlike many others among active players with the possible exception of Manning’s long time rival Tom Brady. Manning holds a number of records that are likely to stand for some time to come, and his winning of two Super Bowls for two different teams puts him in rare company among the great NFL Quarterbacks of the modern era. Obviously, when his time does come he’ll be a first round pick for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and will likely be able to pick whatever future he wants from the many available to a former NFL star of his caliber.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    With the way he played last year (poorly) and his various scandals, his retirement is not unexpected.

    Bonus to him and us Broncos fans: Like Elway, his last game was also that time they won the Championship.

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  2. Davebo says:

    He would be wise to step as far from the limelight as possible given the recent revelations about his days at Tennessee and more importantly he and his father’s vulgar victim smearing.

    Sad because I had a great deal of respect for him at one time as a player and a person. Luckily I never liked Papa John’s pizza and never considered Nationwide insurance.

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  3. Based on the follow-up reporting I’ve seen, there’s far less to those reports than meets the eye.

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  4. Andre Kenji says:

    American Football is a really brutal sport, that requires a lot of your body. No way that anyone almost 40 is playing this sport at a professional level unless he is using DOZENS of PED.

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  5. James Pearce says:

    @Davebo:

    the recent revelations about his days at Tennessee and more importantly he and his father’s vulgar victim smearing.

    They’re not recent. They resurface every couple of years, despite the settlements and confidentiality agreements, in hopes of finding a better environment to re-litigate it.

    And that’s commenting not at all on the merits of the case, if any.

    I had a great deal of respect for him at one time as a player and a person. Luckily I never liked Papa John’s pizza and never considered Nationwide insurance.

    Have you considered the possibility that you’re not reacting to Peyton Manning, the person and player, but Peyton Manning, the liberal caricature?

    (The Papa John’s crack gave you away, man.)

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  6. Davebo says:

    @James Pearce:

    (The Papa John’s crack gave you away, man.)

    You lost me there. It is truly his horrific pizza, in fact it should be illegal to call it pizza!

    As for a motivation to re-litigate, that seems pretty lame. There’s only one party that violated the confidentiality agreement of the first settlement.

    And when did Manning become a liberal caricature?

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  7. Mu says:

    The owner of Papa John is a full-blown right wing Republican (can’t say of the vilest order anymore as I don’t think he endorses Trump). Criticizing Papa John is therefore a political attack.

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  8. Tyrell says:

    I hope that Manning has many days of good health ahead. Sadly, too many players in their 40’s and 50’s are having serious problems from head issues.

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  9. James Pearce says:

    @Davebo:

    It is truly his horrific pizza, in fact it should be illegal to call it pizza!

    Not a big fan of the pizza myself, but most politically aware people who diss on Papa John do so because of his opposition to Obamacare, not for the quality of his pizza. If that’s not you….then I’m wrong.

    There’s only one party that violated the confidentiality agreement of the first settlement.

    She sued him for allegedly violating their confidentiality agreement, but that suit was also settled.

    And yet, I’m not reading a bunch of articles about how Peyton Manning violated a confidentiality agreement. I’m reading a bunch of article about how he sexually assaulted this woman when he was in college.

    “Re-litigate” is the proper word.

    And when did Manning become a liberal caricature?

    I dunno. When liberals decided football was going to be one of the “problems” they were going to work on.

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  10. Davebo says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s hard to claim publishing a book doesn’t constitute a violation of the confidentiality agreement which probably explains the settlement.

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  11. James Pearce says:

    @Davebo:

    It’s hard to claim publishing a book doesn’t constitute a violation of the confidentiality agreement which probably explains the settlement.

    And yet the mere act of publishing the book doesn’t constitute a violation of the confidentiality agreement unless the book contains material which violates the confidentiality of the agreement.

    The settlement doesn’t actually establish that as fact, you know.

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  12. al-Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    With the way he played last year (poorly) and his various scandals, his retirement is not unexpected.

    Add to that the fact that he had very little to do with the Super Bowl victory and, as Doug noted, he will be 40 years old in March, and this is it – the end of the trail.

    He had a great career, a Hall of Fame career – and it is highly unlikely that he will be negatively affected if allegations of his HGH use turn out to be true – he’s been a favorite of the sports media establishment his entire career.

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  13. anjin-san says:

    @Mu:

    The owner of Papa John is a full-blown right wing Republican

    Figures. Does not want to pay for health care for his employees, has plenty of money to feed his ego by hiring superstar athletes to appear in commercials with him. You won’t catch me at one of his joints.

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  14. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mu: I’m not allowed to not like their pizza unless I support Hillary? Really?

    (Or should I have directed this question and James Pierce?_

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  15. Guarneri says:

    One of the great talents. Back when, in Indianapolis, I can only think of Marino and Favre who could make some of the throws he did.

    As one who has had three cervical fusions and had, for a year, basically complete paralysis of the muscles served bybthe C4 nerve root, I cringed every time I saw that lack of velocity. You recover, but it’s never the same. He was done.

    For all you golfers, that’s why I knew Tiger Woods was cooked as soon as I heard of his injury.

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  16. Tyrell says:

    @anjin-san: Well, that’s the only pizza place around here, and they do run some good specials: 2 for 1, $6 large pizza.

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  17. Franklin says:

    @Andre Kenji: I do not necessarily agree with your last statement. Nutrition science has made some progress in slowing the aging process; it largely depends on how dedicated someone is to following such a diet (which most certainly does not included Papa John’s pizza).

    Now obviously I don’t know if the seemingly clean-cut Manning did use PEDs (heck I’m still surprised about Bill Cosby). I just don’t think he *obviously* did. His body is definitely showing its age.

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  18. PJ says:

    Well, today is the 20 year anniversary of the, alleged, sexual assault!
    Nothing says celebration like Papa John’s Pizza!

    (This comment was paid for by Papa John’s Pizza.)

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  19. Nikki says:

    @Tyrell: They sell them that way because only people with no taste buds would consider buying multiples of tasteless pizza.

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