The question came up again. After Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos were eliminated in the Divisional playoffs, the inevitable question was asked - will Manning be back next season?
The question was asked last year, and Manning was unequivocal in his response. He was definitely coming back in 2014.
This year, his response was a little different. "I can't answer every what-if circumstance," he said. "What if you're not as healthy? What if certain coaches leave? I can't answer every what-if situation. I think I'll have to take some time to see how I feel, see how I feel physically."
Peyton Manning should seriously consider walking away from the NFL.
There are several reasons why Manning should walk away today.
What do Dan Marino, John Elway, Kurt Warner, Y.A. Tittle and Fran Tarkenton, among others, have in common? They all lost the battle to Father Time at the age of 38.
The rule on aging quarterbacks has stood for decades - 38 is the wall for the majority of quarterbacks.
Yes, there are exceptions. Brett Favre played until he was 41. Vinny Testaverde and Warren Moon each made it to 44. They were the exception to the rule, however.
Oh, by the way, how old is Manning? You got it, he is 38.
As he gets older, his body will break down. He already had neck surgery and missed an entire season.
In the last month of this season, Manning struggled. In his last four games, he threw just three touchdown passes and had six interceptions. Then he looked listless in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.
After the loss, it was reported that Manning had a torn quadriceps. He doesn't want to use that as an excuse, but it does explain his sudden drop off. The bumps and bruises will get worse as he keeps on playing.
If Manning continues, we will most certainly see a huge drop-off in his production. We've seen him succeed so much, why see him fail?
Peyton Manning has done some amazing things. He has 179 wins. He's played in 24 playoff games. He has a Super Bowl win.
Manning also has a multitude of records. Among them are:
NFL career passing touchdowns: 509
Single season touchdowns: 55
Most passing yards in a season: 5,477
Most passing touchdowns in a single game: 7
Most seasons passing for 4,000+ yards: 13
Most consecutive seasons with 25+ touchdowns: 15
This is just a short list of the accomplishments Manning has in his career. He has a Hall of Fame resume. There is nothing else he needs to prove.
If he continues to play, it will be just to pad his stats. He is already known as the greatest regular season quarterback. What is the purpose of padding his stats?
Speaking of being the greatest regular season quarterback, the one area in which Manning wasn't successful was in the playoffs.
Manning had fourteen playoff appearances. He did make it to the Super Bowl three times, but won just one, in the 2006 season. He has an 11-13 record in the playoffs. He also has NINE one game exits.
At this point, we know what we are getting with Manning. He is a great quarterback. He will be enshrined in Canton. In the playoffs, however, he won't light it up.
If he continues, he will just keep highlighting that fact. How many one-and-dones do we need to see from Manning?
3. Adjustment to a new system
After the playoff loss to the Colts, the Broncos underwent surprising changes. Head coach John Fox let go, and he is now the Chicago Bears coach. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase is now also in Chicago as the Bears' offensive coordinator (the Broncos' loss is really the Bears' gain).
Now Gary Kubiak is the new coach, and there still is no offensive coordinator.
If Manning does indeed come back, he will have to deal with a new system. While it is true that the system probably won't be much different than what he's run so far, but adjustments will need to be made.
After three successful seasons in Denver, why go through another change? You don't know how the change in coaches will affect the team. What if there are struggles?
Manning will not be around much longer, so why deal with a two or three-year plan of getting to the top? Manning should step aside and let Kubiak and his new staff do their thing, and enjoy his retirement until Canton comes calling.
Peyton Manning has had a long, illustrious career. There is nothing on the field that he hasn't done. At his age, and for his health, it may be time for him to hang his cleats and work on his post-playing career. Football will always be in his blood, so perhaps he can get into coaching, or work more on his academy.
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