When the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning was given a great opportunity: the chance to retire on top.
Peyton is undoubtedly one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game of football. In his entire 17 season career in the National Football League, he had a losing record only twice, his rookie year and fourth year with the Colts.
In the past two seasons, he set two of the biggest records a quarterback can have: most career passing touchdowns (539) and most career passing yards (71,490). He has won two super bowls, and was named NFL MVP a record five times over the course of his career. The list of accolades isn’t short.
Now, at 39 years old, it’s the perfect time for him to retire. After the Super Bowl, he told the media that he wasn’t going to make his decision during the emotional time after the victory.
He hasn’t announced whether he will return to football next year. He has one year remaining on his contract with the Broncos, and the Los Angeles Rams have also reported interest in having Manning play for them next season.
Peyton has the opportunity to play in the NFL for another season. However, doing so would be a tragic mistake. It has been a blessing to see Peyton throughout his career. Watching him has been an incredible experience of watching one of the greatest to ever play.
After his neck surgery in 2011, though, he didn’t look like the same quarterback. He is still the football genius he has been, but his arm strength is lacking.
Many people believed he should have retired before this season. He certainly was not the strength of the Broncos team this season, throwing 17 interceptions while only throwing 9 touchdown passes. In addition to the poor statistics he also missed a big chunk of the season due to injury, and Brock Osweiler had to start for the Broncos.
Yet, Peyton had the opportunity to win another Super Bowl, and accomplished that. Until he won Super Bowl XLI in 2006, popular opinion was that Peyton couldn’t win in the playoffs.
Well, he now owns two Super Bowl rings. He’s proven the doubters wrong. The chances of him winning the Super Bowl again aren’t great.
So, Peyton, please retire. Ride off into the sunset a champion. Don’t try to play another year, and make our last memories of you come from a mediocre season. Take advantage of this chance, and go out on top.