Peyton Manning will step onto the Super stage Sunday for the third time in his Hall of Fame career. While he’s declined to talk much about it, the much more interesting story for me is what Peyton will do if he leads the Broncos to a championship at MetLife Stadium. I’ve never known what it’s like to be a professional athlete who has performed at historic levels at my sport. So, excuse me for saying, if I was Peyton and end up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night…I’m out. Here’s 10 reasons why it makes sense for a victorious Manning to ride off into the sunset. You know, if we were Peyton Manning. Who we’re clearly not.
1. Lonely 38: Six other quarterbacks have been at least 37 years old as a Super Bowl starter. Only one has ever started at the age of 38. His name was John Elway. For Elway, it was the culmination of a longtime chase after that long-elusive SB ring. Should he win, a soon-to-be 38-year old Manning will have two to his name. To me, that’s more than enough bling not to push the age limit.
2. Records, Schmecords: So many athletes transcend to greatness based on their competitiveness. A desire to not only lead their teams to great heights but to etch their own name in the record books among the greatest to ever play their position. Manning has already done that and then some. First overall pick. Thirteen trips to the Pro Bowl.
Four Five NFL MVP Awards. Most passing yards in a season. Most touchdown tosses in a season. And already one Super Bowl Championship.
3. Twin Time: Peyton and wife Ashley had twins back in 2011. As a parent, I know I can’t stand missing a few days away from my little girl. Another Super Bowl would make hanging it up and enjoying watching them grow up that much easier.
4. Money in the Bank: Sure, all professional athletes at the top of their game make some loot. But Peyton is among the elite of the elite. According to Forbes 2013 ranking of the 100 wealthiest athletes, only 18 sports figures on the planet are taking home more in salary and endorsements than #18. He’s been there for a long time. The Mannings should be OK.
5. Cut that Meat, Cut that Meat: Speaking of endorsements, Manning has become a somewhat-surprising gold mine for commercials over the past decade. Ever since he cheered on the butcher for Mastercard, Peyton is a lock for at least one memorable spot a year. Here’s a listing of some of the all-time greats. But it’s hard to top some of the originals.
6. Protect Ya Neck: Regardless of the diagnosis, neck injuries are scary. Maybe Peyton’s is as good as ever. Hell, maybe it’s better. But this is a brutal game. The neck is an iffy spot. Another championship would be one more reason to stop worrying about that potentially permanently damaging hit.
7. Comeback Complete: When Manning and the Colts departed after a lost 2011 season, uncertainty was a common theme. Doubt still lingered as Manning took to field as the signal caller for the Denver Broncos in 2012. Peyton decimated those doubts and finished the season winning the Comeback Player of the Year award. He advanced Denver to the brink of a Super Bowl before a soul-sucking double overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens — a game that saw Baltimore snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. If Manning were to leave MetLife Stadium tomorrow night with a Super Bowl win, a storybook comeback would be complete in so many ways. No additional chapters needed.
8. Nothing Comes for Free: Repeating a championship in any league is extremely difficult. Should Manning win, the window for another title continues to narrow. And there’s always the threat of free agency. Sixteen Broncos will be free agents at the end of the year including key offensive cogs Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.
Maybe those pieces don’t matter to the system…and maybe they do. A second championship would allow for Peyton not to even think about it.
9. Booth-Ready: Some players stay on the field, because their prospects off it once the whistle blows are less certain. Let’s face it. Networks would kill for the man who memorized his playbook early in his career and has been barking plays from the no-huddle better than anyone in the business for over a decade. So, he’s got that going for him which is nice. And if that’s not enough of a safety net, along with the $30M or so a year that he’s been banking, there’s also of course…
10. Better Ingredients, Better Pizza: Two titles with two franchises? Impressive. But the challenge of taking another franchise even further? It would be difficult to withstand.
About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.