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On March 6, 2016, it was announced by the Denver Broncos that their quarterback and overall NFL legend, Peyton Manning, will officially retire as an NFL champion. Manning, who has been in the league for 18 years, informed the Broncos and his teammates on Saturday, March 5, about his decision. A press conference was previously scheduled for Monday, March 7, for a different purpose, but he and the Broncos chose to use this opportunity to formally announce his decision to the media, the rest of the league, and ultimately, to millions of his fans nationwide. The press conference will be held in Denver, Colorado and will begin at 1 p.m. EST.
The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18 in the AFC Championship game on Jan. 24, 2016. At the end of the game, Manning approached New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick and stated, “This may be my last rodeo.” This statement was quickly evaluated as a hint of Manning nearing retirement, and it began circulating throughout the media.
Manning led the Broncos to win Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. He led them against the Carolina Panthers, for the win, despite suffering from a bout of plantar fasciitis during the beginning of the season. This prevented him from playing for six weeks, which was the first time in his 18-year-career that he did not play in all 16 games of the regular season. The final score of Super Bowl 50 was 24-10. Along with celebrating Manning’s second Super Bowl win, he also celebrated his 200th win of his career.
Monday’s press conference will be remembered, although it will not be his first emotional goodbye. Manning was drafted into the NFL in 1998, as the first overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts, and little did he know, he would spend the next 13 years with them. During the press conference that was held to announce the end of his time with the Colts, Manning struggled to say goodbye to the franchise and its fans.
There were rumors if Manning would return to the NFL after leaving the Colts, as he was forced to miss the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. He underwent four neck surgeries, but in 2012, he signed with the Denver Broncos. The San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans were interested in signing the quarterback, however, Denver’s general manager, John Elway, found a way to convince Manning that Denver was where he needed to be.
Manning will officially retire as an NFL Super Bowl champion but will also retire with much more. He attended four Super Bowls (XLI, XLIV, XLVIII and Super Bowl 50). In addition to winning Super Bowl 50, he won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts. He is a five-time NFL Most Valuable Player and a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year. In 2005, he was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is one of the most notable awards in the league. He holds the record for most passing yards with 71,940 yards. In 2013, he broke the record for most single-season touchdowns with 55. He is also the only quarterback to win two Super Bowl games with two different teams. Currently, Manning holds the record for the most NFL career passing touchdowns with 539.
Peyton Manning, also known as the NFL’s “Sheriff” will “ride off into the sunset” and officially retire as a champion. Over the course of 18 years, he has affected the lives of his teammates, coaches, and became an idol to millions of fans. Some of those fans who grew up idolizing the quarterback even made it to the NFL themselves. Many fans assumed that the quarterback would have made the announcement immediately after his Super Bowl win, but it was rumored he wanted to use that time to allow his teammates to enjoy the win, versus letting his retirement overlook the rest of his teammates and the entire Super Bowl weekend. Although he did not announce his retirement at the end of the game like most fans anticipated, he did state that he would think about the decision after he celebrated the win. Manning’s decision to leave the game with the memory of hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy as his last NFL memory is the ideal ending for any NFL player.
Opinion by Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Cathy Milne and Jeanette Smith
ESPN: Peyton Manning makes call to retire after 18-year career
NFL: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to retire
SB Nation: Here’s a list of every major NFL record Peyton Manning holds
Image Courtesy of Arnie Papp’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License