No one can say that Peyton Manning has been anything less than a supremely talented and record-breaking NFL quarterback. But the 38-year-old Denver Broncos player found himself on the wrong end of a 24-13 score line.
It wasn't as though Peyton was part of yet another humiliating defeat like the one suffered in last year's Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. But it was clearly a disappointment that weighed heavily on Manning before the game ended.
Peyton Manning now has 13 career playoff losses - the most in NFL history pic.twitter.com/X1esgd5vwtThe Denver Broncos were terrible, and Peyton Manning wasn't much better. What some are speculating is that what we saw in this game wasn't just the passing of the torch from Manning to Luck, but the very heart go out of Peyton.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 12, 2015
It didn't help that when asked about whether or not he'd be back for another season with the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning didn't exactly give what some fans would consider a satisfactory answer.
"I guess I just can't give that simple answer... I can't say that [I'll be back next season]. I could not say that."Understandably, there are alarm bells ringing all over the place in Colorado right now. As tired as Peyton is or may seem, this is a man who stepped into a sub-par franchise and led them to a Super Bowl appearance. Despite the disappointing display this evening, Peyton Manning and the Broncos had a great season overall. If this is what "tired" looks like, far younger quarterbacks in the NFL would probably give anything to be a tired Peyton Manning.
Is Manning ready to go because he's tired of disappointment? Not necessarily.
If Peyton calls it quits, football fans should kindly remember that this is a man who had major neck surgery only a few short years ago. In actuality, Manning was let go because the Indianapolis Colts opted to rebuild from the ground up. This meant forgoing another 2-14 after they lost him to a risky injury.
Now that both the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning have demonstrated some level of success apart, hopefully each side has nothing left to prove to the other.
Peyton Manning talks #Colts, Andrew Luck and much more on conference call. #INDvsDEN READ: http://t.co/RyRYq4wOLQ pic.twitter.com/2GImmsUcQ5Peyton Manning certainly has nothing left to prove to anyone, regardless of a clear desire to make it to and win just one more Super Bowl before he retires.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 8, 2015
It is impossible to avoid the question with each passing year, and as he nears 40, his body is only capable of giving so much more as a professional athlete in a demanding sport.
If this turns out to be Peyton Manning's last season, given how far he's come both with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, it would be hard to argue that he overstayed his welcome in the NFL.
Do you think Peyton Manning should retire?
[Image Credit: NFL Twitter]