Peyton’s Place In The Game Is Set
March 10, 2016
Peyton Manning’s place has been on the football field since he turned five years old. Thirty-five years of putting pads on from pee-wee football to the NFL came to a close this week as he announced his retirement from the game.
Like his most recent boss with the Denver Broncos, John Elway, Manning went out on top as Denver is just a month removed from winning the Super Bowl.
Manning played 18 years in the NFL and will go down as one of the best players in NFL history, and in just over five years, he’ll be in Canton, Ohio giving his Hall of Fame speech. Manning’s speech will cover a career that saw him throw for 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns.
The decision was fully expected. Family and friends all urged him to retire. Reports out of Denver let it be known that if he had not retired, the Broncos were going to release him this week. And it would have been hard to blame Elway. Manning is coming off his worst season as a professional and the digression is very evident. Denver would have had to pay him $19 million next season. He is not a worthy of that number. Manning and the Broncos got what they wanted when the marriage began a few years back, a Super Bowl title.
What’s next for Peyton you ask? One has to believe he will stay in the game in some capacity. Speculation is that he could move directly into an NFL front office. There have been rumors out there that the Cleveland Browns would turn the team over to him to run. Manning will also be highly sought after as an NFL television analyst.
Peyton Manning with this year’s trophy
Here are some more Manning accomplishments. In addition to his two Super Bowl wins, he has five MVP awards and is one (of two) quarterbacks to beat all 32 NFL teams. Manning passed for over 4,000 yards 14 times. No one else has done that and he also holds the single season passing yardage record (5,477 yards in 2013). No one else has ever recorded 13 consecutive seasons of throwing at least 25 touchdown passes. Manning also is the only quarterback ever to throw at least four touchdowns in a game 25 times. He threw a NFL record 55 touchdown passes in 2013. No quarterback has 200 career wins and no signal-caller has recorded 56 game-winning drives. Manning also has the most passing yards in a career (71,940).
After being selected No. 1 by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 draft, Manning began his legendary career by leading the Colts to nine consecutive postseasons and seven straight campaigns of at least 12 wins. He won four of his MVPs in Indy before grabbing one more in 2013 as a member of the Denver Broncos.
After building a career that included staying out of the tabloids, Manning is having a hard time staying out of scandals recently. He found himself in a scandal this past December, when an Al Jazeera report claimed that he had received human growth hormone, a performance-enhancing drug banned by the NFL, in the aftermath of his 2011 neck surgery. Manning has denied the allegations, but the case has numerous unanswered questions and unsolved coincidences.
There was another controversy surrounding Manning continued even in the days following his Super Bowl 50 victory, when the New York Daily News received and reported on 74 pages of damning court documents that tie Manning to a 1996 sexual assault/exposure incident involving himself and University of Tennessee athletic trainer Jamie Naughright.
Manning did not address either story at his retirement press conference on Monday. But he did close the presser by barking out his trademark “Omaha” one more time. That is how his playing days came to a fitting end.
What Is It About Detroit?
There was more superstar retirement news in the NFL this week.
Calvin Johnson, at the age of 30, has called it quits after nine years in the league.
I am pretty sure I have mentioned in these pages that I was born and raised near Detroit.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is retiring, too
It is so hard being a Lions fan but I have stuck with them because they are the only team left in Detroit that has not won a championship since I was born. In fact, the Lions are one of only four teams never to have played in a Super Bowl. The other three are: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.
There are many factors on why Detroit has not sniffed a Super Bowl. Having two of the franchises’s top players retire early rather than face the dreaded prospect of continuing to play for them does not help
Remember Barry Sanders? Arguably, one of the greatest running backs in the history of the game, Sanders left it all behind at the relatively young age of 30. When he announced his retirement, it was a real stunner. Now that Johnson has followed suit, one has to wonder why.
It would be different if these guys were leaving football in order to pursue another career like the legendary Jim Brown did when he left the game at the age of 29 in order to become an actor. With Sanders and Johnson, there is no evidence of such a thing. They didn’t have any exciting new careers waiting for them. They simply didn’t want to play for the Lions any more.