When Peyton Manning was asked at the end of last season if he was coming back, he didn’t hesitate and his answer was completely unambiguous. This season, things have changed and when asked the inevitable question about the 2015 season, Manning wasn’t all that clear. "I can't answer every what-if circumstance. What if you're not as healthy? What if certain coaches leave? I can't answer every what-if situation. I think I'll have to take some time to see how I feel, see how I feel physically." Sadly, it’s time for this legend to end his career and consider other pursuits.
After last year’s Super Bowl debacle, many began to question whether Peyton had another year or two left in him. He silenced his critics during the early part of this season, posting 36 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in his first 12 games. Over his final five games of the season however, Peyton would throw for only four touchdowns and six interceptions. Peyton’s critics silenced him.
Manning is arguably the most popular player in the NFL today and is definitely in the conversation for most well-liked and respected player in the history of the NFL. In retirement and off the field, he could accomplish so much. He could engage in further philanthropic endeavors, pursue a career in business, or maybe even land a position in Denver’s front office. But Peyton’s time on the field is coming to an end and he should take a lesson from Brett Favre’s seemingly, never-ending retirement saga and call it quits with his head held high. Manning has simply nothing left to prove.
As Jim Buzinski recently wrote, “He has played for two horse teams during his career, so it's time for Peyton Manning to saddle up a colt or a bronco and ride off into the sunset.”
10 New Coach, New Strategy
9 Commercial & Business Opportunities
8 Brett Favre
7 Broncos' Future
6 Playoff Losses to Indianapolis & Seattle
5 Charity Opportunities
In January, one of the NFL’s most esteemed awards was bestowed upon Peyton Manning: the Bart Starr Award, which honours and recognizes the contributions and character of NFL players off the field.
Peyton received the award for the work of his charity, the Peyback Foundation, which “has provided more than $10 million of impact to at risk youth in Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana and Tennessee through its grants and programs since its inception in 1999. In addition to funding life-enhancing initiatives, Peyton gives his time, leadership and presence to a broad range of worthy causes including the St. Vincent’s Children’s Hospital (Indianapolis), which in 2007 was renamed the “Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.”
4 Coaching, General Manager and Ownership Possibilities
Mr. “Omaha!” is renowned throughout the football world for his legendary playmaking skills and his ability to adapt and change play calls at the line of scrimmage. He is the undisputed king of the audible. He is a beast in the film room. His dedication to his craft and those around him is unparalleled. These talents would translate beautifully into a head coaching role or even a general manager position.
3 Health & Age
2 Denver is Done
1 Nothing Left to Prove
I’m going to let the numbers speak for themselves:
Super Bowl Rings: 1
Career TDs: 509
Single Season TD Record: 55
Career Playoff Games: 24
Most passing yards in a season: 5,477
Most TDs in a single game: 7
Manning has proven that he is the greatest regular season quarterback in the history of the NFL. That is undeniable. What has also been proven is that Manning simply can’t get it done consistently in the playoffs. He has appeared in the playoffs 14 times, including a stunning nine one-and-done’s while posting a mediocre 11-13 record. We all know Peyton can light it up in Week 4 against the Raiders and Titans of the league. But if he gets knocked out again in another playoff home game, it will merely serve as a reminder that while you may always want him on your fantasy team, you’d never want him when a playoff game is on the line in the fourth quarter.
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