Despite rumors in recent days that he wasn’t ready to hang up his cleats, multiple media outlets are now reporting that Peyton Manning will indeed announce his retirement on Monday after 17 NFL seasons.
While the 2015 season included some chinks in Manning’s tightly constructed public persona, you cannot argue Manning’s overall success on the field and that he will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Regardless of whether you think the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in spite of Manning, rather than because of him, on the football field he was able to finish in a way that everyone dreams of, as a Super Bowl Champion.
Critics of Manning seemingly took pleasure in pointing out that his 2015 season with just 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions was among the worst-ever for a Super Bowl quarterback. They seemed to have forgotten that for his fist 16 seasons Manning was a quarterback with few statistical equals.
During each of his first 16 NFL seasons, Manning tossed at least 26 touchdown passes every year, including nine seasons with 30+ touchdowns and an NFL record 55 touchdowns in 2013. He will retire as the NFL career leader with 539 career touchdown passes and 71, 940 career passing yards.
He also will go down as one of the greatest regular season winners in NFL history having led his teams to 10+ victory seasons 14 times and boasting a regular season winning percentage above 70%.
There is no doubt that the competitor in Manning wanted to come back and finish his career with another high-quality regular season. However, given that he will be 40 years old later this month and struggled with multiple injuries over the last year and a half, in the end sticking around really wasn’t a practical option.
Much like Brett Favre five years ago, Manning is having a hard time walking away. However, unlike Favre, Manning is going out with his second Super Bowl trophy in hand. Read the rest of this entry →