Rumors regarding the future of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the NFL are spiraling, and many people are speculating that Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers could be his last game. While Manning has not yet confirmed that he plans to retire, he has given clues over the last few months. At 39-years-old, Manning’s best days are behind him, but he still has a chance to go out on top.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Manning has already stated that retirement has crossed his mind, and this could be his last “rodeo.”
“I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking about that.”
And a Super Bowl victory for Manning to end his career could be the fairy tale ending that many great quarterbacks never get. Ever since Manning said that he has thought about retirement, he has been questioned repeatedly regarding his plans. In order to keep the focus on his team, Manning has largely avoided the issue.
After the Broncos victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Manning was caught telling Patriots coach Bill Belichick that it “might be my last rodeo.” Besides his love for the term “rodeo” in describing his NFL career, Manning appears to be saying his goodbyes to his colleagues around the NFL.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the moment was supposed to be private between him and the Patriots coach. Manning expressed his anger that the clip was made public and refused to further elaborate.
“I don’t know what happened to private conversations at the 50-yard line. Those don’t exist anymore. No confirmation on that whatsoever. We are on to Carolina.”
While he may be protecting his quarterback, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak confirmed in a press conference that Manning has not told him anything regarding his plans for retirement.
“He hasn’t said anything to me. I know he’s enjoying the playoffs and enjoying this opportunity with his football team. I can’t speak for him, he’ll have to answer those questions. But I know it’s special to have him back in the huddle leading the way.”
And maybe Manning really has not told him anything, but it would be a surprise that he would tell an opposing coach and not his own. Even if Manning wants to return to Denver next year, the team may not want him back. While Manning has done great things for the Broncos in his short time there, he is rapidly declining.
While he was solid for most of the 2014 season, he was not very productive in the last few games of the season and in the playoffs. His 2015 season has been shortened by injuries, and he was actually benched for backup quarterback Brock Osweiler when he was healthy enough to return.
Luckily for Manning, Osweiler did not play great, so Manning got another chance. While Manning has been solid enough to lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl, he is more of a game manager at this point than anything. The Broncos could be looking to get another quarterback with more upside next year.
With a week to go until Super Bowl 50, Manning is already being asked about his retirement plans. While nothing has been confirmed, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports put out an interesting Tweet regarding Manning’s potential announcement.
If Peyton Manning is in fact in his last rodeo, using Monday media day to announce it would make so (cont) https://t.co/Qz0umZAHkZ— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 31, 2016
For a player and a team looking to keep all of their focus on the Carolina Panthers, retirement questions could be a huge distraction for everyone. At this point, Peyton Manning might not even know the answer. Manning could sail off into the sunset with a victory against the Panthers. A loss against the Panthers could have Manning hungry for another chance.
Manning is sure to be asked about his retirement during Monday’s media day. If he announces his plans to retire, he could end the conversation tomorrow and focus on football the rest of the week. If he does not give an answer, the questions are going to continue throughout the entire week.
Rumors will continue to swirl regarding Peyton Manning’s future with the Denver Broncos and the NFL, but he has a great opportunity to put everything to rest during media day on Monday.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]