Peyton Manning had a very tough decision after winning the Super Bowl. He was either going to walk away from the NFL on top, or he was going to try to see if there was another team that would give him at least another year as a starter. Rather than risk having another disappointing season and risk another black eye to his legacy, Manning has decided to walk away from the sport of football, according to ESPN.
Filed to ESPN: Five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning will announce his retirement Monday in Denver per source familiar with the QB's decision
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 6, 2016
The beginning half of the 2015 season was a really tough one for Peyton Manning. He was struggling on the field, and it was evident to everyone that he was no longer the elite quarterback that he used to be. Manning was no longer an NFL superstar that was capable of carrying a team to victory based on his will and performance. Instead, he had become someone that relied on the dominant Denver Broncos defense, led by DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, to win games.
That’s a far cry from what Peyton Manning was when he was the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, the team that made him the first overall selection in the NFL Draft in 1998. Back then, the former Tennessee Volunteers star was the one that one games despite having a defense that was sub par. Manning was even able to compensate for an inferior offensive line by releasing the ball quicker than the defense could get to him.
Despite the Denver Broncos starting off with seven victories and zero losses, all the talk centered on Peyton Manning no longer being good enough to play in the NFL. While Manning would never admit it, the criticism bothered him personally. The big blow came in a week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, an AFC West division rival. Peyton had a 0.0 quarterback rating, so Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had no choice but to bench his franchise player.
Some interesting things happened while Peyton Manning was recovering from a foot injury. Brock Osweiler played decently enough that Denver Broncos fans started considering the possibility of the 6-foot-7-inch, 250 pound quarterback being their starter for the future. Rumors also started spreading that Manning wasn’t willing to be a backup for the Broncos, which tarnished his always superb reputation a bit.
In the final game of the regular season, Peyton Manning found himself back on the field because Brock Osweiler had thrown two interceptions and lost a fumble against the San Diego Chargers. That put Gary Kubiak in a rather tough situation, as he preferred Osweiler as his starter. Manning ended up beating the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots in the NFL Playoffs, which earned a Super Bowl appearance for the Denver Broncos.
In the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos found themselves in a battle against the Carolina Panthers, who were the hottest team in the NFL. Cam Newton had finally established himself as an elite quarterback and MVP candidate. Many believed that the Panthers were finally going to win their first championship, but the Broncos smothering defense decided that Peyton Manning would get to hoist his second Super Bowl trophy.
Walking away from your dream is something that is very difficult to do. Peyton Manning could have found an NFL team to give him a chance to prove that he can be a good quarterback in the league. The move would require Manning to start over, but he would still find it as a challenge. In the end, though, Peyton opted against the unknown and taking the safe route in retirement.
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