There’s no better way to cap off an athletic career than with a championship, which is why everyone expects Peyton Manning to retire now that his Broncos secured a dominant upset win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night.
But what happens if Manning decides, after all that Budweiser has settled, not to retire? What if this Super Bowl victory, and the way Denver built a championship team on which Manning was asked to do little more than adequately manage the offence, doesn’t spur the 39-year-old quarterback to hang up his cleats?
Manning didn’t even need to throw a touchdown pass to win a Super Bowl last night. What if all this leads Manning to announce that he’s coming back for one last rodeo?
For one thing, Manning’s non-retirement would put John Elway and the Denver front office in quite an uncomfortable position. Elway has made it clear that the Broncos are ready to move on from Manning; they like Brock Osweiler, and more than anything else, want to start developing their next franchise quarterback. Manning is due $19 million from the Broncos next season. That’s a ton of money for a 40-year-old quarterback that can’t throw the ball downfield.
But would Elway and the Broncos really cut Manning? Manning is, after all, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game and by far the most popular athlete in Denver (the same could be said about Elway.) Not to mention the fact that he just won the Broncos their first Super Bowl since 1999. Would Elway really cut Manning?
Considering Manning’s physical state and that he’s dropped numerous hints about a looming retirement over the past weeks, the Broncos will likely not have to face a standoff with Manning. Archie Manning said after Super Bowl 50 that he believes that if he’s not done permanently, Peyton is at the very least done in Denver.
But nothing is certain until Manning officially announces his retirement. In the meantime, Elway will be biting his fingernails.
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