Caption + Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning struggles to talk during his retirement announcement at team headquarters Monday, March 7, 2016, in Englewood, Colo.
Manning went 50-15 in Denver, leading the Broncos to four AFC West titles, two Super Bowl trips, one championship, and in 2013 guided the highest-scoring offense in league history.
He is also the first starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams, winning Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts and Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos.
Manning, a five-time NFL MVP, will undoubtedly be chosen as a first-ballot selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his class becomes eligible in 2021. “There’s just something about 18 years, 18 is just a good number”.
“I revere football. I love the game, so you don’t have to wonder if I will miss it – absolutely I will”, he said.
As a father, I can tell you one of the greatest rewards is to see your children grow into what you hope they can be.
Manning came across as a laid back southern boy but on the gridiron he was a clinical, ruthless competitor with an off-the-charts football IQ who changed plays at the line of scrimmage to outsmart opposing defenses with his dead-on accuracy. I am a better football player today because of my time spent with him. Because every moment, every drop of sweat, every bleary-eyed night of preparation, every note I took and every frame of film I watched was about one thing, reverence for this game.
Manning is going out just as Elway did: The former Denver quarterback retired 17 years ago after winning his second Super Bowl.
Manning said little brother Eli might have broken it had he started all 16 games his rookie year with the New York Giants. “And they should miss me, because they sure did get a lot of wins off of me”.
Like he said he would do after the Super Bowl, Peyton took his time and did not make an emotional decision.
“It is sad that some people don’t understand the truth”, Manning said.
In a lengthy prepared statement, one that Manning began reading with his eyes focused down as he tried to hold off the tears that would eventually fall, he began the process of thanking not just his immediate family but his extended football family. Eighteen seasons, 14 with the Indianapolis Colts and four with the Denver Broncos but a lifetime of memories, lessons and unforgettable experiences.
But Manning’s postseason legacy has always been a point of criticism, which made his team’s Super Bowl win that much more important.
I think that if Peyton felt he could stay healthy, he might have come back for another season somewhere else, but only if the right opportunity had been there.