It had been suspected since as far back as before this season, but as of Sunday, the great Peyton Manning has officially announced his retirement.
If you want a riding off into the sunset, we just witnessed one.
With the old, whimpered, injured Manning having the worst season of his career, throwing interception after interception this season, many thought they had seem Manning throw his last pass as an NFL after being taken out due to injury, with Brock Osweiler taking over. In hindsight, sitting out with a partially torn plantar fascia was the absolute best thing that happened to him this season, if not his entire career.
With time to rest not just the injury in particular, but his body and arm, Brock played out the remainder of the season without a drop-off, allowing Manning to come back for the playoffs, most likely not being able to last until the playoffs simply due to his poor play if he hadn’t been injured. The injury in essence gave the Broncos a reason to put Manning back in as QB, with Peyton most likely not seeing the field again if he was pulled solely based on performance.
We all know how that final chapter ended just a few short works ago, with Manning improbably winning Super Bowl 50, beating the rolling Carolina Panthers behind the stout Broncos’ defense that will go down as one of the greatest ever.
Sure the University of Tennessee sexual harassment incident and Human Growth Hormone accusations which have both yet to be resolved will leave a faint blemish on his career, but all looks to parallel the Kobe Bryant situation 12 years ago which slips many people’s minds and was far more serious than the claims against Manning.
The judgement and opinions of Manning will of course not fade away anytime in the near future, but his announcement of retirement should provide a window of reflection of just how special of a player we we witnessed, one we’ll never see again in our lifetime.
With cerebral supremacy, unparalleled work ethic, and world-class talent, Manning is arguably the greatest regular season quarterback to ever grace a football field and one of the top three to ever play his position. Those tangibles combined with a man who was the epitome of a class act on and off the field sums up who we’ve come to know as Peyton Manning.
With a career 65.35 completion rating, 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdown passes, the future 1st ballot Hall-of-Famer, 2-time Super Bowl champion, and one of the best to ever do it, calls it quits.
Thanks for the memories Peyton.