Should Peyton Manning Retire On Top?
With two Super Bowl rings and a shoddy neck, should Peyton Manning retire on top of the NFL?
Manning turns 40 years old in March, which isn't necessarily the kiss of death in the modern NFL. Tom Brady said he plans to play into his 40's, and Drew Brees could do the same for the Saints. With the best defense in the entire NFL, is it fair to already put Peyton on his horse down the dusty trail? When the sheriff decides to ride off into the sunset, he's supposed to do it on his own terms.
The Broncos became the first Super Bowl Champs to get outgained offensively in every playoff game in their championship run, and Manning threw more INT's (17) than TD's (9) during the regular season. His arm clearly lost strength, and there's probably not much gas left in the tank.
That being said...would you blame him for coming back?
If Manning decided to come back and play a final season, Denver would have the hard choice of bringing back "The Sheriff" or moving on with Brock Osweiler. Manning is closer to collecting his AARP benefits, but how confident are you in Osweiler as your QB of the future?
Thinking selfishly, Manning should come back for one more year. Unless his body gives out on him in the middle of the season, he stands a good chance of seeing another Super Bowl...and the pay check certainly wouldn't hurt.
He would have the league's best defense behind him again, and John Elway and the Broncos' front office could put together another free agent class to surround him with. If the Broncos are content to win with running and defense, how much could it hurt to leave the most cerebral QB to ever play the game behind center to call the audibles? It would be a massive leap of faith, but trusting Osweiler with the keys to a Super Bowl Champ could prove to be equally as risky.
For most players, the NFL decides when they hang up their cleats. As long as there's a paycheck to collect, they will take it. That's not the case with Manning.
There isn't a more highly respected player in the NFL than Peyton Manning. Every broadcasting outlet in the country will be crawling over each other to get to Manning. He could choose to be a highly paid analyst or commentator, or he could go the coaching route.
His alma mater, Tennessee, would surely find a spot for him on campus if he came calling. If the college game didn't tantalize his tastes, he could probably try his hand at the NFL level as a QB coach or offensive coordinator. Who wouldn't want Peyton Manning coaching up their young passer and teaching him the ways of the game?
The world is Manning's oyster, he just has to choose his favorite pearl.
Most likely, he will lay low with his family and friends for a while, collecting checks from Papa Johns, Budweiser and Nationwide. Whenever he makes up his mind, the sports world will hang on every word of his press conference.
We all see "The Sheriff" already riding off into the sunset, but we truly can't see what's on the horizon.