We knew the day would eventually come, and on March 7 the “sheriff” ended his career after 18 years in the NFL. Peyton Manning, who concluded his career after a Super Bowl win with the Denver Broncos announced his retirement in the most memorable way possible.
The conference, which Manning announced his retirement was held at the Broncos headquarters where Manning was joined by the Broncos president Joe Ellis, general manager John Elway and head coach Gary Kubaik. As each individual admired Manning is his great career and what he did for the organization, it wasn’t until Manning himself spoke to the media and delivered the news, as he held nothing back during his emotional speech.
Manning spoke about the number 18, the number he wore on his jersey and the significance of the number throughout his career.
“There’s something about 18 years, 18 is a good number, and today I retire from the professional football” as Manning explained with a bittersweet smile.
Elway spoke of Manning with elegance as he explained how Manning made Elway’s job easier during his four successful years in Denver explaining that Denver would have never won a Super Bowl without a quarterback like Manning.
“Peyton Manning revolutionized the game,” Elway said. “We always used to think that a no-huddle was a fast paced, get to the line of scrimmage and keep people off balance. Peyton revolutionized it in that, ‘you know, we’re going to get to the line of scrimmage, we’re going to take our time, I’m going to find out what you’re doing, and then I’m going to pick you apart.’”
As Manning thanked all of the coaches that he worked with during his NFL career and hundreds of teammates, Manning explained what he would miss most about his career were the little things like a “steak dinner after a win with Indianapolis … [and] … battles with players named Lynch, Louis, Thomas, Fletcher” and many more as he felt like he was going one-on-one with many of those players.
Manning fought through countless injuries during his career which for many players would cost them their season. But not for Manning, as he fought through a neck injury that limited himself from lifting his throwing arm above his chest.
This was something that Kubiak admired about Manning. He related back to when Manning was at his worst. He explained how Manning would conduct private workout for weeks leading up to his return in an effort to avoid distraction and prepare him for his upcoming season.
Unfortunately with the University of Tennessee allegations and Manning being accused of sexual assault during his college football years, Manning responded in the most suitable way possible.
He explained, “I think it’s sad that some people don’t understand the truth or the facts. I did not do what has been alleged.” Manning ended his remarks on that issue with: “Like Forest Gump said, ‘That’s all I have to say about that.’”
Later, Manning was asked if he seriously considered returning for a 19th season in 2016. Manning explained that after the season ended, he vacationed with family and went on a hunting trip with former Colts teammate Jeff Saturday, before making his final decision. “I thought about it a lot, I prayed about it a lot, but it was just the right time.”
If there is one thing that will go down in history with Manning’s retirement speech was his very last word as he concluded his speech. Before stepping off the podium, he concluded with a code word that no one will ever know the meaning to, “Omaha”.
The Manning name will be forever remembered as Manning ended his career with some pretty impressive stats:
1. Manning totaled the most career passing yards in the NFL with 71,940 yards.
2. He’s first all-time with 539 passing touchdowns.
3. Manning engineered 56 game winning drives, which is the most in league history and eight more than Tom Brady.
4. His five MVP awards are the most of any player.
5. In his 2013 season, Manning collected 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns and 342.3 yards per game, all of which are NFL records as he finished with a 121.1 QB rating
6. Manning ended third in most postseason wins with 14 total wins.
7. He totaled 186 regular-season wins, which is tied for first all time with Brett Favre.
8. Fifty-four players have combined for 65 different games with a perfect 158.3 QB rating. Only seven QBs have done it more than once. Manning has done it four times, including once in the playoffs.
9. His 14 4,000-yard seasons are the most in NFL history.
10. Manning reached the playoffs 15 times in 17 seasons while the one missed playoff season was due to Manning recovering from multiple neck surgeries.
Assistant Sports Editor