He’s the quarterback who has thrown more passing touchdowns than any other; the man who has more passing yards than all other NFL quarterbacks in history; and who has won two Super Bowl rings, as well as been named the NFL’s MVP an astonishing five times. But yesterday Peyton Manning brought the curtain down on his glittering career, as he announced that he has retired from the game.
While not a surprise – he is 40 years old, after all – the news of Manning’s retirement still made the news throughout the world. His tearful farewell to the sport confirmed the love he has for the NFL, however most agree that the timing was right. After just winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos – in a game most expected them to lose – he is able to leave on a high.
The victory against the Carolina Panthers ensured that Manning became the only starting quarterback to win Super Bowl titles with two different teams. It’s just another achievement that fans can point to when eulogising about one of the game’s most important players of all time.
Should Manning have continued, many doubt whether he would have been particularly effective in the NFL any longer. His role at Super Bowl, aside from managing the game well, was minimal, and his frailties were exposed a number of times during the regular season. He was even replaced for some matches, which would have been unthinkable a few seasons ago. He was brought back for the play-offs though, as the Denver hierarchy realised that his experience would be vital.
Manning is also currently having to defend himself against allegations made by Al Jazeera, which state that he had banned human growth hormones sent to his home in 2011. It’s an accusation that Manning vehemently rejects, and one that most NFL fans do not accept. The accusations would have added yet another pressure had he continued to play though.
Manning’s exit from the NFL is sure to make next season very different, however the league is lucky enough to have a number of other exciting quarterbacks, ready to take the limelight. Manning’s opponent in the Super Bowl, Cam Newton, perhaps leads this group of exciting new quarterbacks, but players such as Russell Wilson are also ensuring that the game stays in good shape. Whether they’ll be able to even come close to matching Manning’s achievements in the game remains to be seen though…